On Tuesday, events were held throughout the Maritimes to mark World Refugee Day. Thousands of refugees have settled in the Maritimes in the last 18 months, but many of the newcomers still face the major hurdle of being reunited with their families.
At only 19-years-old, Mohammd Younes fled Syria on his own before moving to Canada.
"When I first came, I didn't know English,” says Younes. “When I go out and buy something, it's still hard for me."
Younes fixes bicycles at the Crescent Valley Resource Centre in Saint John. The city welcomed 50 Syrian families in early 2016.
"I am the first son; I have to work to pay for my family,” says Younes.
While Younes talks to his family every day, he hasn't seen them in a year and half. Family separation is a common trend among refugees in Canada, which is why organizations in Saint John are focusing on family reunification.
"There are organizations, like our own, with waiting lists reaching to several decades," says Paul Carline, the Director of Intercultural Ministries with Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada.
Judith Mattie, with Newcomers YMCA, says it's been difficult for some refugees to adjust without having their families with them.
"While they are here safe, they are worried about their families, back wherever they are,” says Mattie.
While some refugees have been able to find work, many still face language barriers.
"We try to work closely with employers, so families who have employment might have an opportunity to continue learning the language as well,” says Mattie.
Younes says he will continue to improve his English and he hopes his family will one day join him in Saint John.
"My dream would be to open a restaurant,” says Younes.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.