What it’s like to live on a Syrian refugee’s stipend

ESPMI Network

syrian-refugees-1-2000x1333 (Image: Kayla Rocca)

Once the tearful photo-ops are over, newly arrived Syrian refugees face the task of making a life in Canada. It’s not a leisurely process: the vast majority need to learn English, integrate into a new culture and acquire the skills necessary to support themselves before their financial aid runs out. Complicating matters further is the fact that Canada’s refugee support system is two-tiered: some arrivals are sponsored by private groups with enthusiastic volunteers and ample funds, while others are sponsored by a resource-strapped federal bureaucracy. Here, a close-up look at the financial realities faced by three groups of recent arrivals who, despite having fled from the same country at roughly the same time, now face very different circumstances in Toronto.

The Al Rassoul family

Who: Mahmoud, 40; Isaaf, 38 (Mahmoud’s wife); Reyak, 39 and Saadah, 30 (Mahmoud’s sisters); Malek, Mohammad, Maher, Mohannad…

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