Extending a welcome

When a family of Syrian refugees arrives in Summerland later this month, they will have to adapt to a new country.

When a family of Syrian refugees arrives in Summerland later this month, they will have to adapt to a new country, a new community and a new culture.

The Summerland United Church is sponsoring the family and the community has stepped up to provide housewares, furniture and financial support.

More than $8,000 has already been received. This is significant, although more is needed. The cost of sponsorship is estimated at $18,000.

The community’s outpouring of generosity is impressive and commendable. Once again, in response to a need, the people of Summerland have taken action.

While the donations of money and supplies are necessary, it is also important to show sensitivity as the members of this family adjust to a new life in Canada.

The language barrier alone will be a huge challenge for them, as will the transition to Canadian customs and culture.

Some in this community have immigrated to Canada and know what it means to learn a new language and fit in to a new community.

Even those who have come here from English-speaking countries have had to make significant adjustments, without language barriers.

Making the transition to a new country is not easy at the best of times. For refugees, who are no longer able to remain where they once had a home, the adjustment will be far more difficult.

For this reason, it is important for the community to show a level of sensitivity and compassion when we encounter them.

The year ahead will be overwhelming, with many new experiences.

Anything we can do to smooth that transition and to extend a warm welcome will be appreciated.

In this week’s Review, we have included a list of a few Arabic phrases for those who want to exchange greetings.

The important part is to ensure that this family feels safe and welcome as they make the transition to life in Canada.