Province announces $1.6M in new funding to help refugee students
Josh Crabb, CTV Winnipeg
Published Monday, January 11, 2016 6:37PM CST
The Manitoba government is providing an additional $1.6 million dollars in funding to help refugee students settle into schools.
The money will help schools determine what supports students need to succeed, said Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger during the announcement at Hugh John MacDonald school Monday.
Of the new funding, $750,000 is earmarked to help schools receive and assess children.
"The assessment money is for students going into any school they choose to go into," said Selinger. "They get an initial assessment to help them get a precise idea of where they need to start to do well in school here."
Another $450,000 is set aside to boost funding for English as an additional language programming.
“Some will have to catch up, some may need do well in some things and need help in other things," said Selinger. "The whole point of the assessment is to give an accurate idea of what supports they need to succeed in our schools, whether they’re French immersion or English schools.”
Escaping the threat of terrorism was a huge relief for twin sisters Dimah and Hazo Abdulkareem.
Their family relocated to Winnipeg from Iraq in 2014.
The sisters said before leaving for Canada, they had to stop going to school because of safety concerns.
“It’s very dangerous, you can’t go to school because of terrorists,” said Dimah. “We couldn’t go to school because of terrorists, now there’s ISIS. Everybody had to run away from terrorists and everybody left the town.”
Dimah and Hazo, both 13, started attending classes at Hugh John MacDonald school in 2014 where they have worked on learning to speak English.
The sisters said learning a new language was the biggest challenge they faced coming to Canada.
So far, more than 254 government-assisted refugees have arrived in Manitoba and 150 more are expected to arrive every two weeks until the government meets its target of welcoming 2,000 Syrians.
Hazo said she’s happy to be in Canada and is willing to help any Syrian families who may need assistance learning English.
“If they come here I can help them,” she said. “I know Arabic. I can help them if they don’t know English.”
The province said settlement agencies have found temporary homes for refugee families.
The Manitoba government has also partnered with a private landlord to create an additional 26 units and is repurposing a government-owned building which will offer another 10 units.
So far, 200 private landlords have identified 100 units as options for a permanent place for refugees to live.