Virtual tour created for Syrian refugees arriving in N.B.
Published Tuesday, January 26, 2016 7:35PM AST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 27, 2016 10:20AM AST
The Multicultural Association of New Brunswick has launched a new video about the province for arriving Syrian refugees.
The 16-minute video shows the province’s cities, the education and health system, and where refugees can go for assistance.
"It was wonderful,” said Syrian refugee Ossama Kwedar through a translator. “It was really eye (opening). It showed us everything is open to us – it's a matter of just seizing the opportunities."
The video is narrated by Layla Rahmeh, who came to New Brunswick from Syria almost four years ago.
"It was really hard because I have to apply for a work permit. It took like seven months nearly to get that and then extra three to four months until I got my first job,” said Rahmeh.
Refugees currently settling are able to begin work and school as soon as they are settled. Rahmeh says she's glad those coming into the province will have an easier transition than she did.
"It's a total new life,” she said. “We have to let go of our own perspective of how we want our life to be because one day they would reach there, but it needs some working at the beginning and some acceptance."
So far, 178 Syrian refugees have arrived in Saint John. The province expects to receive 1,500 by the end of February.
The video will be available upon arrival for the rest of the arriving refugees.
"It's really to help promote New Brunswick and to help our newest families understand what there is available for them here in New Brunswick, show the geography, show our size," said Shilo Boucher of the Greater Saint John YMCA.
The video even explores New Brunswick weather patterns – perhaps one of the first challenges Syrian refugee families face.
"We are going to get used to it,” said Kwedar. “We don't have ice, but it's beautiful."
The YMCA Newcomers Group expects dozens of refugee families to arrive before the end of January. They say they're glad they have the video to inform those who will now call New Brunswick home.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ashley Blackford.