Video: Starting Over Means Never Giving Up

by Salvation Army
Categories: Feature

Eighteen-year-old Nabil fled his country because of a well-founded fear of persecution. He witnessed unthinkable horrors that included random arrests, executions and forced evictions. Government and rebel forces were attacking ordinary citizens. The conflict in the Democractic Republic of the Congo forced more than 1 million people to flee their homes.

“I was surrounded by terror and death,” says Nabil, now age 22. “I saw many people killed. Some were neighbours. Others were family members. When my father was arrested and thrown in jail for stating his political views, our family knew our safety was at risk. I fled to neighbouring Uganda, followed by my mother and two sisters.”

Nabil and his family stayed with an Aunt. They were fortunate. Most refugees are trapped in overcrowded camps, and suffer from lack of food and poor sanitation.

Every day, for a year, Nabil and his family lined up with thousands of persons in need of protection to claim refugee status with the hope of putting down roots abroad. In 2007, the Canadian government directly sponsored Nabil and his mother for resettlement in Canada.

Salvation Army Services
The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda offers refugess practical assistance and protection they so desperately need.

In 2009 Nabil enrolled in The Salvation Army’s 20-week Life and Employability Enhancement Program (LEEP) in Winnipeg. The program, which includes work experience, began in 2002 and has assisted more than 150 newcomers from war-torn countries.

“There are multiple stressors for refugees from war-torn countries to overcome,” says Michelle Strain, program supervisor. ”Poverty, displacement, lack of education, language barriers, culture shock and loss and separation from family are among them.

“LEEP strengthens and develops employment skills. It expands the students’ knowledge of Canadian culture. It gives opportunities for newcomers to become self-aware and integrate that into improving their future. Many have been in survival mode for so long they haven’t been afforded that opportunity.”

Nabil’s dream was to become a plumber. Through the LEEP program he has fullfilled that dream and has a plan for his future. He is currently a plumber’s apprentice.

“The Salvation Army boosted my self-esteem and confidence,” says Nabil. “I am one of the hundreds of waves of refugees who never gave up and now calls Canada home.”

In 2010 Nabil welcomed his sisters to Canada. His fathers whereabouts are still unknown.