Orphaned refugees arrive in Winnipeg
Meghan Roberts, CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, January 14, 2016 10:53PM CST
Last Updated Friday, January 15, 2016 1:57PM CST
Eleven refugee children arrived in Winnipeg Thursday night after a long and harrowing journey.
Ten of children are orphaned siblings between the age of eight and sixteen.
The last is a baby born to the oldest sibling.
They were all born in Saudi Arabia to a Somali father, who was working at the Somali consulate in Jeddah.
Their father died of diabetes, leaving them orphaned and stranded.
“They had lost all of their legal status with the death of their father and they were subject to deportation,” said Tom Denton with Hospitality House.
The children hit from authorities for months. Their plight became known in Canada after their eldest brother fled.
He made it to Emerson Border Crossing and walked to Winnipeg.
The brother told Hospitality House about his siblings and the refugee sponsor group sprung to action.
After about six months, the children finally arrived.
A group of 14 year old students from General Wolfe School were there to greet them.
“There’s a lot of negativity going on right now, right. And we just want to show that they’re humans like us too. They need our support,” said Lina Gebreyesus.
Her friend, Izabella Samborski, agrees.
"They need our help and we have to be there for them as Canadians," said Samborski.
The children received warm coats, hats and mitts before making their way outside.
They’ll stay at Hospitality House’s reception house, a large space with seven bedrooms.
Denton said the road will be difficult, but he’s optimistic the children will flourish.
He said they’ll begin by learning English, before enrolling in class in the Winnipeg School Division.
Hospitality House has also set up a Go Fund Me page to collect donations for the children.
The youngest child is quickly outfitted in warm winter clothing.