© UNHCR/ Gordon Welters

most recent refugees to settle into their new homes. They accompany them shopping, help set up phones and Internet services and volunteer at the Open Door donation centres, where newcomers can find furniture, household items and clothing.

Hany is acutely aware that he is his family’s lynchpin to this new life. He knows that the clock is ticking down the months left on the government support program.

“It’s a big

responsibility,” he admits. “Learning English

is first for this family.

Everything will be much easier once everyone learns English. Everyone will be able to do something.”

After he hones both his written and oral language skills, Hany would like to pursue a computer engineering or technology degree. He has an idea to design a fun and entertaining software program or app for people with visual impairments.

“I would also like to do photography and writing, do freelance journalism,” he says. “I’m doing that now. I’m working on a project documenting the life of refugees here, to show that


their education.” The conviction that

much like

many Canadians’ backgrounds.


or “Everybody, even if

they are just people who care their families, their jobs and

refugees other Canadians is

are a

message that Hany wants to convey. “There are people who don’t

“I like

refugees because they don’t know them,” he says.

tell people that

before coming here I had a normal life. We used to have everything that you have here. We are just interrupted. We are people just

you just move from one province to another, feels like you’re missing something, like you want to go back, that’s

the immigrant experience,”

he says. “That’s normal; everybody feels like that; just go to the next level, don’t ignore it, use that feeling. For me, if I were to say to myself, I wish that I could go back, the truth is it’s not happening. I can have new friends; I can have new things; I can bring that happiness that I used to have here,” he adds.


you, skilled and educated. . . . We can be successful because we will work hard and recover the things we lost.”

Hany understands that Canada is a country founded on immigration and

that something

leaving behind

someone is or common to

His advice to newly arrived refugees? “Be patient.” Hany knows that

they are coming with equal

measures of loss and expectation. But

they should know that not

everything is possible, right now. “It takes time, be patient, everything will come,” he says. “If you really go for it, everything will be fine. . . invest the most in this chance.” «

UNHCR / 21

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