Thomas, Chris, Daniel

Chris Yetman & Daniel Haile

Chris Yetman vividly remembers being at the Halifax airport in September 2013 for the arrival of two refugees from Eritrea. “I see a young man looking bewildered, dead tired, and with one small suitcase,” Chris recalls. “But he is smiling from ear to ear.” The coordinator of Saint Benedict Parish’s … Read more

Evelyn Jones – Private Refugee Sponsorship

Evelyn Jones, ISANS Coordinator of Refugee Sponsorship, has had a year like none other. ISANS has always witnessed some interest in private sponsorship of refugees – perhaps 20 people attending an annual workshop – but nothing like the community involvement since autumn. Intense media coverage of the Syrian crisis, in … Read more

Al Helwani Family

Maher Al Helwani will always remember his first day in Halifax. After arriving at 3 am, he slept, ate breakfast and left his hotel for a walk. “A woman in her fifties came toward me, asked if I was Syrian and then gave me a big hug,” he says. “I … Read more

Reham Ibrahim

Working as a pharmacist in Canada is a dream come true for Reham Ibrahim. She thanks the ISANS Career Pathway Loan Fund for helping to make it happen. “We had our savings but studying and buying books is not cheap,” says Reham. “ISANS has been a very good support to … Read more

Noor Al-Anbagi and family

Noor Al-Anbagi

Noor Al-Anbagi often tells herself to stay positive. She has faced challenges since arriving as a refugee from Iraq, via Egypt, in 2009 with her parents and three younger sisters. Not only has she had to learn English, she cannot hear. To help her connect with the Deaf community, ISANS … Read more

Adhikari Family

Adhikari Family

The Adhikari family is a very long way from their homeland of Bhutan. Father Madhu, mother Padma, sons Sudarsan and Ganga, and the youngest, daughter Nisha, came to Canada in 2009 after 18 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. That voyage, made with four other families, was their first … Read more

Abdel Karim Musa, refugee

Abdel Karim Musa

Abdel Karim Musa came to Canada as a refugee and now offers advice to other refugees as the Private Refugee Sponsorship Program Assistant at ISANS. “I tell them, don’t give up. Nothing is free here, but their lives will change eventually.” Musa is a native of the Darfour region of … Read more

Ali Duale

Ali Duale

When Ali Duale arrived in Halifax in 1997, the Somalia native opened his hotel room dresser drawer to find toiletries, a letter in Somali and a $100 cheque. “That shocked me. Two days ago I was living in cardboard in a refugee camp. Now I’m in a nice hotel and … Read more

Kamara Family

Michael and Hannah Kamara

The Kamara family won’t ever forget that first shock of cold air when they arrived in Canada on a January day in 2007, but thankfully the warmth of Nova Scotians made up for it. Michael and Hannah came here with their three-year-old daughter and a nephew. They’ve since had a … Read more

Elena and family

Elena Lalabekova

Each day on her way to work, Elena Lalabekova passes by the cemetery where her father is buried. She takes a minute to thank him for bringing her to Canada.  “He said: ‘I did it; I brought you here.’ He loved this country.” Elena and her family arrived in 2005 … Read more

Zrinka and Tara

Zrinka Seles- Vranjes

Zrinka Seles-Vranjes shares a touching story of her first Canadian winter. Near Christmas, she was pregnant and alone, as her husband was working at sea. An elderly neighbour in her apartment building arrived with a plate of cookies and a small needlework white angel. “I was speechless. I was stunned. … Read more

Nina Maric

Leaving your neighbourhood and school is challenging for a young person, let alone moving to another continent, but that’s what happened to Nina Maric at 12 when she and her family left their small town in then-dangerous Bosnia for Canada. “It was a big new world of adventures,” says Nina. … Read more