It’s been exactly one year since the first Syrian refugee family touched down in Prince George. Fleeing from a war torn torn country to now a land of opportunity, Rose Tohme spoke with CKPG News Monday to chat about her family’s long journey to their new home in Northern BC.
The Tohme’s arrived in Prince George on January 8th, 2016 after spending four years in Lebanon. Rose remembers that day fondly. “We were in the plane and all us we were saying, is it a dream? We are dreaming you know?”
One year later, Tohme opens a new door. It’s the door to her office at the Immigrant and Multicultural Services (IMSS) Society in Prince George where she works to help her fellow Syrian refugees. “I’m so happy that I’m doing this for my people here.,” she said. “You know, to be with the families here, encourage them, love them, I know what they feel, what they need, praise God for this.”
In fact, Rose has made such an impact that some of her student’s consider her a part of their family. Patrycja Legut is an English teacher at IMSS and she says Rose’s work has helped many Syrians learn to write and start to read. “She’s like a mother to all the SYrian students they always call her, she’s been acting as an interpreter for all of us, I can always ask her for a favour to help us out, she’s been wonderful.”
Today, one of Rose’s sons is in studying his post-secondary education in Abbotsford, while the other is finishing up Grade 12 at Cedar’s Christian Secondary in Prince George. Her daughter also began working at IMSS and has started taking courses at UNBC.
For now, Rose’s family looks back and will never forget the day they landed in Prince George. “We looked at them and we said, ‘wow,’ it was a great moment for us to see the love of people.”