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Ghfran’s Story

I came to Victoria in 2018 from Turkey with my three children while my husband, who was in Germany arrived here in 2019. We were separated for almost 4 years after we fled Syria due to the civil war there. I arrived in Canada thanks to my wonderful sponsors who welcomed me, provided support, and showed us beautiful places.

Private Sponsorship of Refugees

ICA's Private Sponsorship of Refugees program works with local sponsorship groups to support individuals and families coming to Canada through approved UNHCR and IRCC refugee programs.

At first, even though I was surrounded by support from my sponsors, life wasn’t always easy. Sometimes I felt worried that I was different and didn’t know anyone who spoke my native language. Fortunately, my sponsor advised me to go to ICA to start to learn English. When I went to ICA, I met people who spoke my language and that helped me feel more comfortable. Going to ICA felt like going to a friend’s house.

Even though I studied English in Syria for many years, I still could not speak well. After taking classes at ICA and the University of Victoria, my English is much better even though my children still correct me! Now, after 3 years here, life is getting easier. I am glad to be in a safe place where I can study, search for meaningful work, and watch my children grow up happy and have a good future.

My family and I can achieve our dreams instead of looking back at what we lost. Of course, we feel the ups and downs and miss our family in Syria very much. But in general, I feel more confident and am very glad to be where I am.

I appreciate ICA because they helped me integrate and understand about life in Canada. ICA teaches newcomers how to respect each other. Now when I walk in the street, I feel respected. The most important thing is to respect each other.

Before COVID-19, I volunteered at ICA helping newcomers who can’t speak any English. I would go to appointments and translate documents and was a teacher assistant in level 1 classes. Being a volunteer at ICA was a great experience for me.

I want to say to ICA on behalf of me and my family, thank you! Because in the beginning I felt strange and different here and finding good support was so important.

I hope ICA will continue to provide support to newcomers forever!