Refugee family learning French and starting a new life in Quebec

Refugee family learning French and starting a new life in Quebec

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Transcript: “Refugee family learning French and starting a new life in Quebec ”

Video length: 05:09 minutes

Sound up: OK, is everyone ready?

Children: Yeah!

Narration: Looking at them, you would think Hanin and Mohamad have been riding bicycles their entire lives. In fact, they have only just started, and they seem eager to ride full speed into their new lives!

Hanin – Refugee: It’s Aurélie and Anna, Coralie too, Marguerite and Bianca.

Narration: They were welcomed with open arms, and they have already made several friends. Hanin and Mohamad are both in a regular class in the morning. Both are in grade one to ensure that their education in Quebec starts smoothly.

Hanin: Yesterday, after school, I played on the computer.

Narration: Every afternoon, these two young Syrian refugees continue learning French in a small group.

Audrey Fafard – Resource Teacher, L’École des Mésanges, Joliette: Hanin is a little older. She’s always smiling and curious. She’s full of energy. She has a thirst for learning. I can see that she had potential before coming here because she already knew the letters of the alphabet. It’s obvious that she was practising at home, that she had started to look at French. That’s it, the fact that she’s curious and not too shy. So, now we can talk to each other, have a conversation, as I would with you.

Her brother, Mohamad, however, is a little younger. He has just started school. I have the impression that perhaps he had less schooling, too, because he was in Lebanon. He was six when he started his first year. Reading decoding is more difficult for him. It’s harder. He is shyer about talking with me, so we use non-verbal communication for now.

Narration: These children are not the first refugees L’École des Mésanges in Joliette has seen. The school has welcomed refugee students every year for over 20 years. This school is many refugee children’s first experience with this new school system.

Dominic Subranni – Principal, L’École des Mésanges, Joliette: I have seen them later, in high school, in the community, mastering French from the get-go, and they’re still in school, so that’s two pieces of good news. And, the third, which is essential, is that when I’ve seen them with other people their age, they look very happy.

Narration: Ahmad and Najah have the same opportunity as their children to learn French, thanks to the francization classes offered by the Quebec government. In class every day, Najah hopes to become a nurse, and Ahmad, who is a cook, would like to find work in his field.

On-screen text: The Quebec government is responsible for the reception and the linguistic, cultural and economic integration of immigrants who settle in Quebec.

Narration: At the Centre Multiservice des Samares, new arrivals are encouraged to continue their education beyond learning French.

Sébastien Langlois – Vice-Principal, Centre Multiservice des Samares: We get them when they are just starting, but we can continue to support them right through to earning a vocational diploma.

Marie-Danielle Gaudet – Teacher, Centre Multiservice des Samares: When I see them at another adult education school, it’s really… It always warms my heart, always. Yes, I always find that touching.

Josée Leclerc – Coordinator, Crédil: We have been welcoming refugees for 20 years.

Narration: Crédil is an organization that handles, among other things, the reception and settlement of refugees in Joliette. Crédil follows families for five years, but it does not do it alone. The community of origin can play an important role in ensuring successful integration.

Josée Leclerc – Coordinator, Crédil: Well, they are the first to experience integration. We always tell them about the Maghrebi community, how people came here and how they flourished after two, three years. I see women from that community; they are working. Their road to integration was not easy. So, they are the first role models.

Narration: Despite the feeling of security and the opportunities for the future offered by the community, reception groups and governments, the fact remains that leaving one’s country can sometimes be hard to bear. That is the case for Najah, who left her 17-year-old sister behind.

Narration: A brighter future for the children was at the heart of the decision to leave.

Sound up: The children are the most important consideration.

Sound up: What’s your name?

Narration: Ibrahim was born in a camp in Lebanon. At two years old, he will retain no memories. According to his teacher, also a former refugee and now perfectly integrated after 10 years, the young boy is making very good progress.

Claudia Ortega – Teacher, Les Petits Papillons daycare: He eats well. He is adapting well. He has never cried at daycare. He is also starting to speak French with his friends.

Sound up: Bravo, Ibrahim!

Narration: As they start a whole new life, the Aalya family can now look forward to a brighter future.

Narration: To learn more about programs for refugees in Quebec and Canada, visit the following websites: and


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