Millions of Syrian refugees are leaving their war-torn home in search of safety and opportunity in other countries. Those who have suffered the challenges of starting anew can have a powerful impact helping others resettle.
Since the Civil War in Syria began in 2011, millions of refugees have been fleeing violence and searching for new homes in other countries. As of March 2016, an estimated 11 million Syrians have been forced from their homes, and 4.5 million—half of Syria's population—have fled the country.* More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives, 13,000 of them children.**
António Guterres, who served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005-2015, has declared the situation, "the great tragedy of this century - a disgraceful humanitarian calamity with suffering and displacement unparalleled in recent history. The only solace is the humanity shown by the neighboring countries in welcoming and saving the lives of so many refugees."
According to the UN Refugee Agency, the European Union welcomed nearly a million Syrian refugees in 2015.*** The United States committed to welcoming 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016. According to the State Department, 78 percent of those refugees were women and children.****
The short film, Welcome to Canada, documents the story of Mohammed Alsaleh, a young refugee who fled violence and imprisonment by the Assad regime during Syria's Civil War. He was granted asylum in Canada and counsels newly arrived Syrian refugee families with the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC). Mohammed is currently building a new life, striving to bring his family to safety from Turkey. The ISSofBC is a non-profit organization which serves the settlement and integration for newcomers coming into Canada globally. The organization is the same Vancouver-based NGO that aided Mohammed during his own resettlement process. Between November 4, 2015, and October 23, 2016, Canada's government welcomed 33,239 Syrian refugees, and the number continues to grow.*****
Connections to National Standards
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.5 and SL.11-12.5. Make use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understandings of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Psy.2.9-12. Investigate human behavior from biological, cognitive, and sociocultural perspectives.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Geo.2.9-12. Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Geo.6.9-12. Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions.