Vulnerable sector settlement services: Best practices promoting resilience with Syrian refugee children & youth

Presenters: Kathryn Khan, B.Ed. and Fadi Hamdan, BSc.
Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 pm (EST)


Immigrant and refugee youth enter the settlement process at a time when their emotional and physical development is already in upheaval. Language barriers, racism, balancing cultural identities, parental conflict, academic challenges, isolation and shifting familial roles are compounded by resettlement occurring at a point in time when their sense of identity, relationships with others and view of the world are being formed in the most basic ways. 

Since 1992, the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth has identified newcomer children and youth as a special population requiring specific support to meet settlement and integration needs. A focus on child and youth settlement is particularly important with refugees as many refugee children face multiple challenges including:  gaps in schooling or no formal schooling, limited literacy and numeracy skills in their first language, potential past trauma or health issues that impact on learning, and the possibility of having limited parent or family support to assist with re-settlement challenges.

This YMCA has developed responsive and supportive approaches and promising practices around the settlement and integration of children and youth as this youngest demographic of arrivals makes Nova Scotia home. This webinar will look at the experiences, protective factors and resilience affecting youth, drawing on examples from the YMCA’s most recent response to the unprecedented events of the Syrian refugee crisis and Nova Scotia’s commitment to accept up to 1,500 individuals for resettlement across the province. 

Learning objectives

 By the end of this webinar participants will be able to:

  • describe the unique resettlement and integration needs of Syrian refugee children and youth
  • list approaches that emphasize the resilience of Syrian refugee children and youth.  

Presenter biographies

Kathryn Khan

Kathryn Khan, B.Ed.,is an educator and lifelong learner committed to social justice and human rights. Working and volunteering both locally and overseas has contributed to her appreciation for diversity and awareness of anti-oppression frameworks.  In her career with the YMCA Kathryn has led International Department programming – travelling to and supporting the organization’s relationship with the Bogota YMCA.  She has also led multiple programs for immigrant children and youth with particular experience in advocacy and working with youth at risk.

She represents the YMCA on numerous community based boards and organizations including service provider round tables and the Local Immigration Partnership which reflects the YMCA’s approach to working collaboratively with community partners.

In her current role as manager of Child and Youth Settlement she is focusing on integrating multiple programs and activities related to children and youth which support successful school integration, academic success, parent engagement and healthy child development.

Fadi Hamdan

Fadi Hamdan, BSc., is a leader in youth settlement work, having led a variety of related programs and events at the YMCA since 2007. As a youth outreach coordinator, Fadi has developed and delivered direct services to youth and built community partnerships and networks which have contributed to effective settlement experiences and practices.

Fadi is also a youth program advisor with a national YMCA refugee program that provides pre-arrival services for youth overseas. These work experiences in conjunction with representing the YMCA on multiple community boards and committees have contributed to his commitment and passion for engaging youth and the community in meaningful ways that promote mutual growth and learning.


Kathryn Khan photo

Kathryn Khan

Fadi Hamdan photo

Fadi Hamdan