A family of refugees from Syria will settle in Summerland later this month.

A family of refugees from Syria will settle in Summerland later this month.

Syrian refugee family to arrive in March

A family of Syrian refugees will arrive in Summerland in late March.

A family of Syrian refugees will arrive in Summerland in late March.

The family of five is being sponsored by Summerland United Church as they relocate to Canada. They are among 10,000 Syrian refugees the government of Canada is taking in over the next three years.

David Sparks, co-chair of the Summerland United Church’s sponsorship committee, said the people of Summerland have been generous in their support of the family.

“People responded really well,” he said. “It was not hard to get the housewares and furniture.”

Financial contributions have also come in for the family.

The church is looking to raise a total of $18,000 for sponsorship costs. At present, more than $8,000 has been received.

The first year will be a time of transition for the family, Sparks said. During this time, the parents, two teenage daughters and a nine-year-old son will learn English and become accustomed to life in Canada.

Ayman Kanaan, who will serve as the translator for the Syrian family, said they have a limited knowledge of English.

“They won’t be able to put full conversations together,” he said.

He added that the family will take English classes and the children will also pick up the language at school.

In addition to learning a new language, the family must also learn to adapt to a new community and a new culture.

Kanaan urges Summerlanders to show sensitivity and not to stare if the women are wearing veils or head coverings.

The South Okanagan Immigrant Resource Centre will also provide assistance as the family transitions to Canada.

“We’re not here just to care for them and look after them,” Sparks said. “We’re here so they can look after themselves at the end of the sponsorship.”

Sparks also encourages other organizations in the community to consider sponsoring refugee families.

“The need is absolutely huge,” he said, adding that 3.8 million refugees have come out of Syria alone.

Arabic phrases

The following are a few Arabic phrases and greetings.

Hello Marhaba

Welcome Ahlan wa sahlan

How are you Keef Halak or Keefak (slang) (male)

Keef Halik or Keefik (slang) (female)

Keef Halkom or Keefkom (slang) (a group, family)

Good morning Sabah il khair

Good evening Masa il khair

Thank you Shokran

You are welcome. . Afwan

Please Lao samaht