A Winnipeg organization is helping ease Syrian refugee students into their first day of school in a new country.

The Newcomer Employment Education Deployment Service, or NEEDS Inc., is offering programs to new government-sponsored refugee students to help prepare them for their first day of classes.

“I like the people here, they seem very happy. I like the school here and I like to learn here as well,” said 11-year-old Arsam Al Ali, a Syrian refugee who moved to Winnipeg three weeks ago. 

The students learn reading, writing, the English language as well as how to use computers and lockers. They also learn various social and cultural skills to help prepare them for the first day at school.

The centre currently has 59 registered refugee students from all over the world, including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and Kenya. The centre is expected to accept another 24 Syrian refugee students this week.

The program offered by NEEDS Inc. lasts four weeks, but the centre says it will extend the program for as long as it takes for the student to settle in.

Assessments of each student are done at the end of the program, and that information is sent out to school divisions across Manitoba, so educators know what level the student is at academically and socially.