Samar, centre, and Bader, left, meeting Parksville Coun. Kirk Oates during a welcome and meeting with volunteers at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre on Thursday (Jan. 18). The family of five arrived at Nanaimo Airport on Dec. 22, 2017. — Lauren Collins Samar, centre, and Bader, left, meeting Parksville Coun. Kirk Oates during a welcome and meeting with volunteers at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre on Thursday (Jan. 18). The family of five arrived at Nanaimo Airport on Dec. 22, 2017. — Lauren Collins

Coming to Canada ‘like a dream’

Syrian family meets volunteers, councillor after living in Parksville for one month

After living in Canada for nearly a month, Samar says her family’s new home has been fantastic.

Samar, her husband Bader, and their three children, Fatima, Zeinab and Oday, arrived in Canada on Dec. 22, 2017, after fleeing from Syria and spending the last four years in Beirut, Lebanon. The family was sponsored by the Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group 2017.

RELATED: Parksville’s Syrian refugee family arrives on Island

RELATED: Qualicum refugee group matches with family

In an interview with The NEWS, and through Arabic translator Noura Abusaman, Samar said she feels that Canada is already her country.

Samar said people in the community have been welcoming by coming up to the family and introducing themselves.

Since arriving in Parksville, Samar said, she’s contacted her parents and in-laws to keep them updated, adding she told her family coming to Canada is “like a dream.”

Samar and Bader’s eldest daughter Fatima, 9, started school already, Samar said, while younger sister Zeinab, 4, will be starting daycare.

Samar said Fatima was so happy during her first week of school, adding that it was a welcoming environment from the teacher and students. She also said Fatima is already making friends.

Samar and Bader will be starting English lessons at the Nanaimo multicultural centre in the coming week. Samar said she knows it may be hard to learn the language but she’s excited to try.

As for Bader, Samar said, he’s looking forward to being able to start work.

The family, and QRSG17 members, met with potential volunteers Thursday, (Jan. 18) at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre. The family was also welcomed to the community by Parksville Coun. Kirk Oates on behalf of the mayor, council and the city.

“We were very excited to hear about you coming to our city, and we were happy when you finally arrived. We’re looking forward to seeing you out and about in our community,” Oates said.

Oates said before the meeting, he saw Samar and Bader’s children playing with Abusaman’s children.

“I reminded myself that there’s nobody alive on this earth that doesn’t want a better place and a better life for their children,” he said.

Samar said some of the biggest differences she’s noticed since coming to Canada is the amount of respect and human rights. She also said she likes the feeling of being safe since moving to Parksville.

To stay updated on the family and QRSG17, visit or


Fatima, 9, pulls her little brother Oday, 2, along in a wagon given to the family by a volunteer at Thursday’s (Jan. 18) meeting at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre. Fatima and Oday’s parents Samar and Bader were meeting with volunteers. — Lauren Collins photo

Just Posted

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

Parksville advocate to discuss harm-reduction measures for addicts

Morris, along with a panel of professionals, will be at the PCC on May 21

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

B.C. ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

One year after heartbreaking B.C. search, wife reflects on late husband

First anniversary of Ben Kilmer’s disappearance, and a search that galvanized Vancouver Island

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Vancouver Island MusicFest: ‘House bands’ from the golden age of rock and R&B

Some of America’s greatest session musicians are coming to the Comox Valley this summer

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Most Read