Escape to freedom: How five young Rohingya refugees are adjusting to life in Canada


[Oh Canada plays over speakers] When we came here, we don’t
know how to speak ‘hi’, ‘hello.’ [Teacher] We have five young men
that just came to us in November of last year, as
government-sponsored refugees. When they started at Eastwood, for most of them,
it was the very first time they were able to be in school. So, starting from square one
in terms of literacy, learning a new language on top. Ya, that’s called frost. Frost. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I actually thought they would be more, I don’t know, fearful? They’re incredible.
Very engaged learners, hard workers. So right from the start I’ve been pretty
awed by them. Once you know them,
it just boggles my mind that there are people
that could hate them as a group of people. [News reporter] Hostility toward Myanmar’s 1.3
million strong Rohingya minority has surged in recent years, much of it fueled by
rising Buddhist nationalism. [Rafiq off screen] [News reporter] As many as 280 Rohingyas have been
killed in sectarian violence across Myanmar. And tens of thousands left homeless. The issue has come to the forefront in recent weeks as more than three thousand Rohingyas and Bangladeshis fleeing persecution… I didn’t know them before [Shantz] They’ve said that I’m their
Canadian mom. And so sometimes even when Shofi texts me, he texts me ‘Hi mom! How
are you? How is everybody? They call my kids
sisters and brothers. And it kind of happened early on, a little bit jokingly,
but then I think I care about them very much and they know that and they
are…uh, I don’t want to cry but… They’re here by themselves. Single young men and
I can’t imagine how hard that must be They have loving, huge families, um, and it
must be very hard for them to be away from them.

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