Nova Scotians helping Syrian refugees to resettle in Canada

Volunteers from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia organized fundraising activities to help Syrian refugees settle in their new community. Children from the local church and schools also enjoyed their experience helping refugees. Dartmouth volunteers encouraged others to get involved in refugee sponsorship.

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Transcript: Nova Scotians helping Syrian refugees to resettle in Canada

Video length: 4:19 minutes

The screen shows a church, while church bells ring in the background. The screen shows a close-up of the church.

The screen changes to two men in a community centre, working together, packing bags of donations.

VOICE OVER (woman speaks English): In Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, a small group of volunteers is working with St. Peter’s Church to help a Syrian family find a new home in Canada.

The screen changes to one of the men who was packing donations. He is now sitting in a community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

MARCEL ARSENAULT (Volunteer, man speaks French): Downtown Dartmouth for refugees, what they do is raise funds and support people who will come from Syria, and there’s a family of six, four children, and we’re going to provide support for one year.

The screen changes to a woman sitting in the same community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

EMILIE O’REGAN MARTENS (Co-chair and volunteer, woman speaks French): To reach out to people for our cause, we decided right from the outset that we really wanted to go outside the parish. We wanted it to be a true community project. So we talked to a lot of people. We invited folks to come to our meetings, and the word spread in the community, and in very short order we became a group of 40, 45 people.

The screen changes to a group of children and adults in the same community centre, but in a different, larger room with tables and computers. The children are sitting at the tables and the adults are standing, all drawing pictures on posters. There is a close-up of a woman and a man talking and smiling. The screen shows a close-up of two children, one boy and one girl, drawing a picture on the same poster.

VOICE OVER (woman speaks English): The organization has gathered over $50,000 through different fundraising activities to help the family settle in their new community.

The screen changes to a letter written in Arabic.

The screen changes to a second woman, sitting in the first community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

SARA DANIELS (Volunteer, speaks English): Our group has done a huge variety of…of…of fundraising activities, everything from having…um…just straight up asking for donations from the business and…and community…uh…at large, uh…having a benefit concert, um…having…selling Christmas ornaments, uh…doing all sorts of a huge variety of…of…fundraising.

The screen changes to a parking lot at night, and in it is a PODS moving and storage truck. The back door of the truck is open, showing that the truck is full of donations.

The screen changes to a close-up of the donations in the PODS moving and storage truck.

The screen changes to a church benefit concert. The view is from the front of the church. There is an altar, with many people sitting in the pews. There are two men performing in front of the altar, each with his back turned to us, looking towards the people sitting in the pews. The first man is sitting and playing a guitar, with his music on a stand in front of him. The second man is standing to the right of the first man. He is also playing a guitar and is singing into a microphone.

The screen changes to a photograph of three children. Two girls and one boy are standing in front of a table, selling Christmas ornaments made of wood. On each ornament, there is a drawing of a house.

The screen changes back to the second woman, sitting and speaking in the community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

The screen changes to the second man who was packing donations. He is sitting in the community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

MARC LAVOIE (Volunteer, man speaks French): The activities are basically receiving donations needed to furnish the apartment, finding the money required to help them fund their stay, eventually organizing activities to welcome them in social activities. Maybe getting them involved in sports activities and other things, and meeting other Syrian families in the region.

The screen changes back to the same children as before, in the community centre room with the tables and computers. The children are sitting at the tables and the adults are standing, all drawing pictures on posters.

The screen changes to a close-up of a table with crayons, markers and the children making signs in Arabic.

VOICE OVER (woman speaks English): Children from the church and local schools are also pitching in, which gives them a chance to learn about refugee sponsorship and the rewards that go along with it.

The screen changes to a girl, sitting on a chair, in the same community centre room with the tables and computers.

RUTH O’REGAN (Volunteer, young girl speaks English): You should really try to find a way to help them because they’ve been in some very hard times, and we want them to feel comfortable here and have a nice place to live.

The screen changes to a boy standing in the same community centre room with the tables and computers.

AIDEN FERGUSON (Volunteer): To other kids in Canada, who would like to help fundraise, is to, just do it. I know it is time consuming, but it really pays off and it feels really good to know that you are helping others.

The screen changes to two adult women and five children standing in the same community centre room with the tables and computers, looking at and talking about a poster.

The screen changes to the two men who were sitting individually in the community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background, but now they are standing together, organizing signs and posters.

VOICE OVER (woman speaks English): Volunteers are enjoying their experience and encourage others to get involved in refugee sponsorship.

The screen changes to a third woman, sitting in the community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

JENNIFER DERWEY-DEANE (Co-chair and volunteer, woman speaks English): I like the Private Refugee Sponsorship Program because I think it comes with people volunteering to help rather than being paid to help. And when someone volunteers to help someone in need, there’s an opportunity there for friendship and genuine kinship that I don’t think always comes if that’s your job to bring someone in or to bring a family in. When you’re volunteering it, you’re doing it for selfless reasons and I think that creates a space for a dialogue and opportunity that you can’t get elsewhere.

The screen changes back to the second woman, sitting in the community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

SARA DANIELS (woman speaks English): I think that…uh…it’s been wonderful watching Canadians come together to sponsor Syrian refugees and to really try to help people. And I think that…um…it’s…it’s a…it’s just a wonderful thing to see that happen, and I would really love to see more people get involved because I think that anybody who decides that they want to…um…get involved with a group, no matter how much time it takes and all that, in the end I think they’ll find it incredibly fulfilling and really worthwhile.

The screen changes back to the second man who was packing donations. He is sitting in the community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

MARC LAVOIE (man speaks French): It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity to welcome people going through extraordinary circumstances, and if you have the chance, do it with an open heart and an open mind, there’s no downside. You’re going to get so much out of it.

The screen changes back to the third woman, sitting in the community centre room that has drawings hanging on the wall in the background.

JENNIFER DERWEY-DEANE (woman speaks English): I think it’s an opportunity to show that people are not just citizens of a nation but citizens of the world.

The screen goes black. The text below is displayed in white font and is spoken in voice-over.

VOICE OVER (woman speaks English): To find out more about sponsoring refugees, visit us at Canada.ca/Refugees or visit the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program at rstp.ca.

Fades to black

Copyright message “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 2016” is displayed followed by the Canada wordmark.

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