The Syrian Initiative Project was delivered from the Scarborough South location from January to March 2017. The March Break Camp, a part of this initiative served 42 children. Of the 42 children served, 33 of them were newcomers from Syria escaping refugee camps. The camp focused on helping these children to integrate into their new community.
Our focus was to introduce a method of active participation by providing an opportunity for the children to build their expressive, artistic and team building skills. Children ages 4-17 (78% from Syria and 22 % from other countries), participated in the camp.
Another focus of the initiative was to facilitate workshops that would address settlement needs, raise awareness of community, explore knowledge of life in Canada (law, rights & responsibility) and connection to communities and public institutions.
We partnered with Refuge Aid, a group comprising of York University students, whose mission is to raise awareness about refugee issues within local communities. Five members from this organization provided daily interactive activities that explored following topics:
- respecting each other and boundaries
- what to do when there is an emergency (e.g: calling 911), and how to stay safe (stranger danger)
- understanding body language and cues
- how to trust one another
We also partnered with the In Forma Theatre Group who actively engaged the children in performing art activities. They provided very interesting and fun ice breakers that involved the children using their imagination to find answers for puzzles. The children also participated in a field trip to Black Creek Pioneer Village, where visitors are given a glimpse into the history of Canada’s resettlement process.
The camp proved to be a very successful event as expressed by both parents and children. The Syrian Initiative Project - March Break Camp was funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.