Syrian family arrives in Petrolia

A Syrian refugee family arrived in Petrolia this week. They had been living in Lebanon for the last five years after fleeing their homeland in the middle of a war. Ezz El Deen and his wife, Nahed, are settling into their new home with their five children, Hanna, Ali, Maysaa, Chifa and baby Khaid. Heather Wright Photo

Five years after fleeing their home in Syria, a family is finally in their new Canadian home in Petrolia.
Ezz El Deen and his family arrived in Canada Thursday after a 20-hour journey from Lebanon to Frankfurt to Toronto. They travelled with members of the Lambton Anglican Refugee Committee to their new home in Petrolia and arrived just before midnight.
Sylvia Fairbank, one of the Petrolia members of the refugee committee, says while the family doesn’t speak any English, they’re very happy to be here.
“How do you like Petrolia?” Fairbanks asks as her phone app translates the question into Arabic.
“Very good,” says Ezz El Deen, giving the thumbs up signal.
The refugee committee has been working with translators to complete a lot of the essential paperwork for the Canadian government, including setting up a bank account and getting their Ontario Health Insurance Plan cards.
Fairbank says Ezz El Deen, who worked in landscaping while his family waited to come to Canada, will begin English as a Second Language lessons in July, while his wife, Nahed, will likely have some lessons at home and then start in earnest in September. “She’s anxious to learn English,” says Fairbank.
The refugee committee has not learned a whole lot about the family yet. Fairbank says they’re trying to get the essential paperwork done and allow them to relax after a stressful period in their lives.
“What we have learned is they are kind, gentle people who love their children very much,” says Fairbank.
Fairbank says so far, the family has almost everything it needs. The refugee committee is still looking to buy an inexpensive van for seven for the family and would welcome anyone to contact them if they’re considering selling their vehicle.
Fairbank would also like a wooden children’s wagon. If you have any items to share, contact Fairbank at 519-882-0394.