The second of two Syrian refugee families sponsored by a local community group arrived at the Smithers airport today to the sound of cheers from the supporters that helped bring them to Canada.
Zakaria Ramadan, his wife Nojood Aziz and their three daughters Gharam, 8, Ghoroub, 2, and Nada, 1, received a warm welcome when they stepped off the plane in Smithers this afternoon.
The family was sponsored by the Bulkley Valley Refugee Sponsorship Group (BVRSG), which fundraised more than $80,000 to bring two families to Smithers.
The other family, who have relatives in Smithers, arrived earlier this week on Family Day.
Saied Assaf, Eviet Danbar and their daughter Gessika, 15, were also at the airport to make the new family feel welcome today.
A small group of BVRSG members greeted the Ramadan family with gifts, flowers and toys, which were presented to them by local children.
The family and their supporters shared tears at the airport before members of the BVRSG drove them to their new home in Smithers.
BVRSG spokesperson Pauline Mahoney said on Monday the group would give the families some time to settle in before introducing them to the community at a potluck event.
“It’s really just about them now, they are here, they are safe, it’s a new beginning, it’s feels great,” she said.
A total four Syrian refugees are scheduled to arrive in Smithers this week. In addition to the two families sponsored by the BVRSG, another two families have been privately sponsored by Smithers woman Mona Awil and her husband Akram Khalil.
The couple, who emigrated to Canada 12 years ago, have personally sponsored Awil’s sister Dalla and nephew Sami, as well as Akram’s brother Saied, his wife Nazha Karkor and their children Eyad, 21, and Rawad, 11.