This is where we will post info for visitors and potential programme users.
October 22, 2017:
We hosted 45 family members from Chechnya, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Saudi Arabia to a special, behind the scenes tour of the Toronto Zoo! We got to learn about falcons and skunks, meet the pandas and cubs, pet the camels, feed the giraffes, and get up close and personal with the Indian Rhino. The Toronto Zoo went above and beyond to create a special day for our kids and welcome them to Canada!
July 28, 2017:
We hosted families from Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Liberia, and Chechnya for a spectacular day at the Royal Ontario Museum! We checked out the Blue Whale special exhibit and the dinosaurs. The kids were in absolute awe with the size of the blue whale and dinosaurs. We also had a special opportunity to teach the families about evolution, a topic most of them weren't taught in their home countries. Another fantastic trip!
March 20, 2017:
After another successful event at Ripley's Aquarium in December 2016, our next SEEDS event took place on March 5, 2017 co-hosted with the Royal Canadian Institute for Science. Kurdish families from Syria attended a seminar by Dr. Hind Al-Abadleh on global climate change and participated in fun experiments with Let's Talk Science. We wrapped up our event with a bus trip around our beautiful city. Please check out Alyssa Murdoch's post on the event here: http://rciscience.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/RCI-Science-Blog-Post-Atmosphere-March-5.pdf
September 17, 2016:
We hosted thirty-two children from Syria, Iraq, Sudan and the Congo for an amazing day at Ripley's Aquarium. The biggest hit was the shark tank and a chorus of oohs and ahs filled the room as we saw sharks, sting rays, turtles, and jelly fish! The kids absolutely loved the hands on activities and getting a chance to pet the sharks and sting rays. The families were gracious with their welcome to Canada to the aquarium days after extremely difficult trips en route to Canada. As a treat, we were serenaded with Arabic pop songs on our bus ride home! Thank you to our amazing volunteers, translator extraordinaires, and all of our supporters for such a wonderful day!
July 23, 2016:
We hosted forty-five refugee children and their mothers for science outreach event at the Royal Ontario Museum on Saturday, July 23rd . Our participants were families who arrived within the week from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and Eretria and are temporarily residing at the Ralph Chiodo Family Immigration Reception Centre as they transition to their new lives in Canada. A school bus and over 10 student, faculty, and staff volunteers from York University met the families at their temporary residence and travelled to the Royal Ontario Museum. Kids discovered the Biodiversity, Paleontology, and Geology wings following a scavenger hunt created by high school volunteer, Mya Sharma, and translated to Arabic by Mohamed Salem, a graduate student in the Department of Biology. The children especially loved digging for dinosaur fossils, exploring the Bat Cave, and learning about the amazing plants and animals from their new country. Their enthusiasm and amazement was especially infectious as we entered the dinosaur exhibit with squeals of “Dinosaurs!” Following a fantastic morning at the ROM, the families were treated to a picnic lunch and games in a nearby park.
May 7, 2016: Thank you again for all of your support with our science outreach for refugees initiative. We had our first event on Saturday and it was a huge success! We packed a bus full of refugee families from Syria, Iraq, and Somalia and volunteer Arabic translators to head to Science Rendezvous in Markham. The families were so enthusiastic about every event of the day from the bus-ride through Toronto (including GTA traffic jams), science demonstrations and activities, the pizza lunch, and learning English while teaching us Arabic. Although the families have endured so much hardship, a common sentiment expressed was "We are happy because we are safe". We realized how important it is to welcome these families into our community and how much it is appreciated. We are extremely thankful for your support and excited to run events all summer!
Since we launched our project in 2015, we have been connecting with many other Toronto-groups who are sponsoring and supporting Syrian refugees. You can find links to them here.