The Albetar family of five refugees from Syria arrived safely in Summerland last week.
Mohammed Hussam Albetar and Nadya Alsagher, their daughters Bayan Albetar and Razan Albetar and their son Ghassan Albetar are being sponsored by the Summerland United Church. They are among 10,000 Syrian refugees resettling in Canada over the next three years.
Armand Houle, minister at the church, said the family arrived from their international flight tired and overwhelmed.
A delegation from the church met the family at the Kelowna airport as their flight arrived.
“We started clapping as soon as they came out,” Houle said.
A sign in Arabic and English welcomed them and members of the church had gifts for the three children.
Also present at the airport were a translator and the president of the Kelowna mosque, greeted the family.
“They were able to be greeted by people who spoke their language,” Houle said. “That really helped in easing some of their worry and stress.”
This week, they have been taking care of paperwork and applying for official documents.
The children have been enrolled in Summerland schools.
“It’s a busy time for them in the midst of this,” Houle said.
The church and members of the community at large have been supportive of the sponsorship.
Items have already been donated for the family’s home.
In addition, more than $8,000 has been received towards the costs of sponsorship. The church estimates the total sponsorship costs for the year will be $18,000.
Tax-deductible donations can be made through the church.
“It’s really been supported overwhelmingly by the community,” Houle said.