How Are We Doing? Gathering of Syrian Refugee, Sponsoring Groups, and Service Providers on November 12, 2016
On Saturday, November 12, 2016, AWO brought together over 300 people to share their experiences of settling in Canada as refugees, of sponsoring Syrian families, and of supporting Syrians’ settlement process. This was a unique occasion for individuals from the refugee community to share their knowledge and learn from each other’s experiences in Greater Toronto Area and Mississauga.
Participants were delighted with the traditional Syrian welcome, Arada, performed by Sooriana (click here to see video), that opened the afternoon’s events and a first viewing of the video, How Are We Doing?: A Snapshot of How Syrian Newcomers Feel in Their New Homes (click here to see video). AWO’s President, Asma Faizi and Executive Director, Adeena Niazi, welcomed the crowd. Remarks from Premier Kathleen Wynne were followed by greetings from local MPs, Yasmine Ratansi (Don Valley East), Rob Oliphant (Don Valley West), and Salma Zahid (Scarborough Centre).
Prior to the event, AWO had collected information from sponsoring groups, settlement organizations, and refugees to understand the current opportunities and challenges within the settlement sector in Ontario. Highlights from the data collection were presented and further discussion on lessons learned, and the challenges and successes of Syrian newcomer settlement were fleshed out during a panel discussion which opened up to include participants in the audience. The information collected has been compiled into a report that will be released in 2017. AWO would like to thank all who participated and helped make this event an enjoyable celebration.