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Nova Scotia Syrian Society hopes to help refugees rebuild their lives in Canada

Loai Al Rifai came to Halifax in Nov. 2016 with his family, fleeing war in Syria
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Loai Al Rifai (Photo courtesy of Nova Scotia Syrian Society/Facebook)

The Nova Scotia Syrian Society has turned to crowdfunding in hopes of raising money to help former refugees get a fresh start in Canada.

Loai Al Rifai came to Halifax in Nov. 2016 with his family, fleeing war in Syria.

"I was lucky to arrive here in Canada to find a place to live," he told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show. 

Al Rifai was a medical doctor in his homeland and hopes to be able to practice here in Halifax one day. 

"The first step is to improve my language," he said, adding he would also need to go back to school to get the proper credentials to work here.

For now, his part-time job supports his wife and two young children.

He said many people who came to Nova Scotia from Syria want to work and start building their lives here, but just need a little help to get started.

Most live below the poverty line on a fixed income.

"We are doctors, teachers, and skilled professionals," Al Rifai said in a news release. "We want to participate in the future of Canada and pay it forward. We only need a chance to start again."

Nova Scotia Syrian Society hopes to raise $50,000 through GoFundMe so they can provide interest-free loans to help former refugees launch businesses or get the training needed to work here.

The money will also be used for emergencies and to run a school for children.

Over 100 students spend their weekends practicing both Arabic and English and learning how to integrate into their new society.

"Our home is Canada now, and we are learning Canadian culture but we want our children to know remember their Syrian culture too," said Al Rifai.


Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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