Syrian family settles in Vernon, joins relatives who fled war-torn nation

Help for Syrian arrivals

A fundraiser has been launched to help a Syrian family adjust to their new life in the North Okanagan.

The Johas arrived in the Okanagan in October after spending nine years in Jordan.

They were forced to flee their country when Damascus was destroyed by bombing.

Steve White, who launched a GoFundMe campaign to help the family says "It has been inspiring to see this family adjust to a new life here in the Okanagan."

Basel and Duha Joha have five children, ranging from two to 14 years old.

"The North Okanagan has been extremely warm and welcoming," says White.

The Johas came to the area as they have cousins in Vernon, who arrived six years ago from the war-torn Middle East nation.

Zaher Joha operates his own barbershop (For Men Only) in downtown Vernon.

"There are a handful of supporters who have donated time and money to provide a support structure for this new family, helping them to navigate all the things they need to learn (the English language, the bus system, the school system, etc.). They've already had some new experiences such as going trick-or-treating on Halloween and experiencing their first snowfall," says White.

White says locals have reached out with offers of Christmas gifts and baking, clothing, toys, and more.

The Johas have found rental space near Fulton Secondary and Ellison Elementary, where their school-age kids attend.

"As they look for employment opportunities, to eventually become self-sufficient, we want to be able to support them financially for at least a full year," says White.

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