The Makani Centre sits in front of one of the only green spaces in Baqaa. Makani Centres are UNICEF-support initiatives to expand learning opportunities for vulnerable children in Jordan. Here in Baqaa it is a hive of activity for those Syrian children who cannot go to school.
Canada is the only country in the world that allows private citizens to unite to sponsor refugees, by taking on a commitment to welcome them and support them as they take refuge in the safe and tolerant country of which we are lucky to be a part.
As weeks, months and years fly by, we are all missing opportunities to talk about real things -- important things -- with our parents. There are things that only they can answer or explain. Sadly, the reality is that when they pass, many of those answers, explanations and stories will go with them. So why are we wasting time? Why don't we ask them the questions that would explain events that shaped them, decisions they made and important lessons they learned? Questions that would yield new insights, understanding and compassion... for people we think we know so well?
Right now, 71 per cent of Canadians do not want Canada to accept above the original target of 25,000 Syrians. The warm feeling of moral righteousness is not particularly useful for devising a policy at a time when 60 per cent of Americans agree with Donald Trump's proposal to ban entry of all non-citizen Muslims to the United States.
As thousands of new Canadians settle into Canada, among the many things that they'll need to take into consideration are their tax obligations. The Canada Revenue Agency provides in-depth resources for New Canadians to learn more about our tax system, and their filing requirements.
There are times where living out of a backpack is forced upon us. Homelessness, war or even a mundane loss of luggage in transit make our backpacks less of an accessory and more of a lifeline. When I was living with my family in Senegal in 2012, I almost had one of those circumstances happen to me.
"Bravo, sister. I honour you. I would do anything to take away some of the pain that you've experienced. And I know that I'll never understand what you carry around inside. But your children -- they're so beautiful. And you've used all of your resources -- your love, your patience, and your creativity -- to keep them alive and healthy. You've taught them when there was no school and comforted them when there was nothing comforting to say. You've made 'home' in camps, tents, and on the side of the road. I will do whatever I can, through my donations, through my prayers and through my writing, to help carry your children to safety and happiness."
Any meaningful and inclusive peace process entails the inclusion of young people. That's why World Vision Canada is urging the Government of Canada to focus on ensuring their voices are heard. Let's involve them in the discussion. By doing so, I'm convinced we will arrive at sustainable solutions we could never have imagined without them.
Canada is now fully entrenched in its goal to rescue 25,000 Syrian refugees. And while the timelines may be a bit longer than anticipated, the commitment is real and ongoing. Many issues confront government as they continue down the rescue path but possibly the most urgent is one of housing.
2016 is a critical year for Syria, 15 March will mark the fifth anniversary of the Syrian civil war. It is in all our interests, but especially the people of Syria, that 2016 is the year when we see a turning-point in this crisis. The UK will continue to play a leading role in international efforts to end the suffering of Syrians.
Millions of Syrian families are experiencing living conditions too cold to be believed. It may come as a surprise to many Canadians that places like Lebanon and Turkey actually get extremely cold in the winter months, making life even more miserable for people who have fled conflict to live in refugee camps.
Syrian refugees have left everything behind. In most instances they do not know how to speak English or French, they do not know anyone and have to deal with brutally cold temperatures. All these factors make them exponentially more susceptible to depression or further exasperates any existing mental health condition.
I spent over a week in Jordan at the beginning of January, with the Syrian American Medical Society visiting non-profit clinics in Jordan where the Syrian refugees were populated and went into the camp to work in their Medical Centre. I did not know what to expect going into the camp, now termed the fifth largest city in Jordan.
So far Trudeau has set a new tone and the media are still wrapped up in the photo ops. But it is substance that he has to worry about and as the year progresses Canadians will have different markers to measure him against -- broken promises being one of them.
Numbers coming from the government and political operatives should give pause to any observer. Why? Because rarely do either have the expertise or data sources to make reliable predictions. When they do, other factors come into play that skews the totals. The usual culprit is misguided optimism to demonstrate competence or distinguish from the opposition.
For the past two weeks of school vacation, many Canadian children have enjoyed lingering in bed in the mornings, snuggled under the covers. But for children forced from their homes by violence in Syria and Iraq, warm blankets are more than a holiday luxury. On some mornings, it's just too cold to leave their beds.