Hadeel Kamalmaz Talks Finding A Home In Canada As Syrian Refugee

Via. Lorenzo Meloni

Via. Lorenzo Meloni


Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I am 18 years old living in Victoria BC! I am most passionate about gaining a better understanding of humankind while comparing culture, languages, and religion. 

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

It's hard to talk about everything but, people in Syria lived together loved one another no matter religion or social standing. 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, life in Syria was great. People were friendly,  respected relationships, and welcomed visitors with open hearts. 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.    

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

It wasn't a decision, we escaped a war zone to survive.  The surcemctanses we were living in were unexplainable. Everything is hard when you have no water, food, or medicine. Many people had serious health problems and coudent access proper health care ficilities. The government treated people as if they were nothing or maybe worse.  

What was the process like coming to Canada?

Coming to Canada was challenging because we had to apply from Turkey.  I went to an interview at the embassy, and 7 months latter found myslef in Canada. It's truly feels like an adventurous dream.  

Did Canada fulfill all your expectations?

Before coming to Canada, I had few ideas about the life here. Most of the things I expected were centered around financial services, health care, and  education. My biggest fear was that I would have to work and study at the same time as I was already quite overwhelmed. It's definalty been financialy taxing on my family, I had to find a job after 6 months of living here. 

Once in Canada what was the biggest struggle you faced?

Adapting to the new culture was very hard. High school was challanging  because the way teenagers act and express themselves here is different from Syria.

How did you overcome it?

I tried to be myself, and kept an open mind while trying new things. My family helped me a lot as they gave enough support to be able to reach success academicaly 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. Countries like Russia and Iran should be punished for their actions in Syria. Not many people know that the Syrian government asked Iran and Russia for help to kill people. Innocent poeple, kids only 3 years old are dying from chemical weapons! I wish more people would think about 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 support one another. It's definalty made us happier and stronger. 

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 assimilaing into  society and to be a part of this transition has been an amazing experience. I feel powerful and surprised at the same time

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



VoiceMisa Yamaoka