Hadeel Kamalmaz Talks Finding A Home In Canada As Syrian Refugee

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Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I am 18 years old. I live in victoria and I’m very passionate to understand more about humankind and compare the differences that people have(culture,languages,religions..etc).

Can you tell me about life in Syria before it became so unstable?

It's hard to talk about everything but what I would like to tell you that people in Syria lived together from different religions and they loved one another. Many people from outside Syria think that what is happening is all about civil war, but the truth is that Syria had a revolution against the government and this revolution was based on freedom and refused all kind of totalitarianism.  Socially, the life in Syria was great. People are friendly and we respect the relationships between people and they welcome the visitors with an open heart. People now are more open for equal society where girls and boys have the same level of education and same rights. We have many educated people in Syria(philosophers, doctors, teachers...etc). Everyone wants to improve their government and that’s what people in Syria were trying to do. We had a good life socially but economically and as a democratic system, people were treated badly by the government and didn’t have much freedom to vote and election.   

What finally forced you to move out of your mother country, how was the decision made?

It wasn't a decision. We escaped from what was and still happening. The surcemctanses we had there were unexplainable. Everything was hard. No water, no food, no medicine. Many people had serious health problems from all ages.Government treated people like if they were nothing or maybe worse.  

What was the process like coming to Canada?

Coming to Canada was challenging because we did so many things to apply for  emigrate from Turkey. Canada wasn't an option but by الصفة we went to the embassy and we did an interview. After seven months of the interview, we came here and it was like  beautiful adventurous dream.

Did Canada fulfill all your expectations?

Before coming to Canada, I had few ideas about the life is there but this wasn't enough. Most of the things I expected were about financial services and life of the family and the education. My biggest fear was that I will work and study at the same time. This is one of the most challenging thing for me . Six months after being in Canada, my family felt the pressure to work and afford the life here. My point is that money was challenging thing for my family.

Once in Canada what was the biggest struggle you faced?

I would say that new culture was kind of hard to adapt. The high school was also hard for me because the way teenagers act and express themselves  here is different for Syria.

How did you overcome it?

I tried to be myself but also open my mid on new things. I tried to avoid being negative about everything. My family helped me A lot and they gave enough support to be able to success in SCHOOL.

What do you miss most about Syria?

I miss the language.

What do you wish people knew about Syria that isn’t presented in the news?

I wish people realize that people in Syria did this revelation to get their freedom. Isis and the government are two sides that kill Syrian people and both consider  the most dangerous sides to people. Countries like Russia and Iran should be punished for their actions in Syria. Not many people know that government asked Iran and Russia for help to kill people. There are many people died by chemical weapons, and this is above everything. Kids at the age of 3 and 2 years old died by chlorine gas. I wish more people think of this.

To what extent has your family gotten closer or further apart since moving to Canada?

I think that my family gotten closer because we felt the need to each in order to be happy and this made us stronger as a family.

What have you found the most surprising since coming to Canada?

I actually found out that human being can adapt very quickly and start a new life with different people. My family did great job to  get involved with society and to see and live this experience is amazing thing. You feel powerful and surprised in the same time. Human beings have so many abilities to try new things and this is great gift to have.

If you could tell world leaders one thing about the situations in Syria what would you say?