Reach Edmonton funding day camps out of a $244,000 grant from the federal government to help integrate Syrian refugees

Day camps integrate young Syrian refugees in Edmonton

By Travis McEwan, CBC News Posted: Jul 30, 2016 9:00 AM MT Last Updated: Jul 30, 2016 9:00 AM MT

Summer camps are a way to keep children busy during the summer, but for Syrian refugee children, they’re a way to learn English and to become accustomed to Canadian ways.

Reach Edmonton, a non-profit group, is funding the camps out of a $244,000 grant from the federal government to help integrate Syrian refugees.

Syrian children are placed into nine separate camps which focused on areas including academics, arts and sports.

Hanine Hajj Suleiman is learning how to play soccer at Free Footie Camp, a sport she’s never played before.

When asked about why her family left Syria, Hanine says “strangers came to the their house too much, so they don’t like Syria anymore.”

She’s a fast learner and articulate for an eight-year-old. She translates for some of the other children.

“This camp is beautiful,” she’s says in her new language.

Syrian Summer Camp

Hanine Hajj Suleiman (left) and other Syrian refugees get ready take shots on goal at Free Footie’s summer camp. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

But not only is she learning English, but she’s also teaching Arabic to the camp coaches, whom she calls teachers.

“We told them if you say ‘hello’, it’s ‘marhabaan’, and if you say ‘games’, ‘aleab’,” Hanine said.


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