In an interview on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, some volunteers working at  a budget hotel in Toronto where a number of refugees are staying, were interviewed and what they had to say did not sound promising.  One volunteer said  some of the refugees say they feel like they’re “trapped in a prison” without hope due to a lack of communication, supplies and assistance.

 

The refugees she spoke of account for some of the 85 government sponsored Syrians that say they aren’t getting much help and would prefer to go back to their camps in Jordan and Lebanon.

A Syrian mother, spoke through a translator at the Toronto hotel, and said she did not expect to be there for so long…saying they were told they would be there four days maximum, but now it is unknown how long they will be there and the children are getting restless.

Through translation the mother said: “We feel like our kids are just stuck here. We go into one room, we eat, and then we return to other room and just go to bed. Our kids don’t have anywhere to play, nowhere to go out. We feel like we’re just trapped in a prison. Maybe this isn’t where I should be. Another lady asked to return and the Canadian Embassy said: ‘There is no way you guys can return now.’”

Different refugees Get Different Treatment?

Another volunteer commented on the interview that it seems there is 2 different classes of refugees and they are getting treated very differently.  On one hand there are the refugees that are very cared for and supported by 35 families, and then there are the other ones (which make up about 100 families) that are supported by only one or two people.  The volunteer said the difference between government and privately sponsored refugees is “vast,” and the immigration minister should modify his approach.  “John McCallum (Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship),  needs to allow private sponsor groups to sponsor government-sponsored refugees immediately.” (McCallum pictured below)

john

Other issues noted by the canadian volunteers at the Toronto hotel included that the refugees are finding it a daunting task to address basic issues like winter boots for outside as they are not used to Canadian winters and the challenges of the language barriers cause further problems like addressing medical issues for example.

Bottom line: Volunteers say the isolation of the new refugees is starting to cause issues . What do you think?

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