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Christmas Fund: Recent refugees eager to work but awaiting permits

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“We’d love to find something in our field, but it’s not necessary. The day we can legally work, we’ll take anything we can.”

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Threatened by a dangerous situation in their home country of Lebanon, Yara, her husband and their seven-year-old son had no choice but to quickly escape to Canada in the hopes of starting a new life.

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“We had to leave everything behind,” Yara said. “But at least it’s the three of us here. Our little family is safe.”

They came here only a few months ago, but after a difficult week transitioning to a new school, Yara’s son is thriving. It didn’t take him long to adjust to French pronunciation in Quebec compared to the French he’s used to, she said.

For Yara and her husband, the situation is a little more complicated. They’re currently awaiting their work permits, but in the meantime they can’t get jobs. That means they’re struggling to make ends meet with no way of resolving it. Yara feels helpless.

“We worked together in the kitchen design business back in Lebanon,” she said. “Some people have told us to work under the table here, but we could never do that. We have to do things correctly in our new country, even if that makes life much harder right now.”

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Yara isn’t resting on her laurels. Although she already speaks French, she’s taking online classes to improve her fluency. She’s also looking to volunteer, as a way to get out of the house but also to introduce herself to the community. She’s sent out a few feelers, but hasn’t heard back. Her days are currently filled with a lot of checking her email, mailbox and the clock while she waits to pick up her child from school.

“We can’t wait to start working,” she said. “We’d love to find something in our field, but it’s not necessary. The day we can legally work, we’ll take anything we can.”

How to help

This article is representative of the people your donations are helping. Because of resource limitations and privacy restrictions, the Montreal Gazette cannot accept non-monetary contributions. Donations to the Christmas Fund can be made exclusively online at www.christmasfund.com. Please direct all inquiries to christmasfundinquiries@postmedia.com.



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