Syrian students share stories at Remembrance Day service

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(left to right) Mays Al Jamous, Nour Albaradan, Abdul Mustafa and their EAL teacher Kyla Wendell McIntyre spoke about the importance of peace keeping at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate’s Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11, 2017. (Jessie Anton/980 CJME)

Three Syrian refugees are hoping their stories of survival will resonate with their Canadian classmates and encourage them to appreciate freedom.

Nour Albaradan, Mays Al Jamous and Abdul Mustafa shared their experiences fleeing war at the Sheldon-Williams Collegiate’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony Friday morning.

“It’s very empowering for them because they’ve been through so much and they’ve been through very difficult times,” explained their EAL teacher Kyla Wendell McIntyre. “By sharing their story, they’re using that experience to create peace.”

Wendell McIntyre added she’s spent most of her career teaching students from war-torn countries. While the places they come from change, she said their stories do not.

Grade 11 student Mustafa was the first to speak to the crowd of high school students. He said his goal was to show his audience the contrast between Canada and Syria.

“In Canada, say if it’s the summer and it’s nice weather, then I can go out and hang out with my friends. We miss that in Syria now,” he said. “If you feel bored and you want to go out, you’re probably going to get shot — you’re never going to come back to your house.”

While the 17-year-old said he misses parts of being back home, nothing could compare to his life today.

“Here in Canada, people respect you and you feel like a human here,” he said with a smile.

Second to speak was 16-year-old Al Jamous, who fled Jordan with her family back in 2016, after living in a refugee camp for four years.

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