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Laurier researcher delves into issues Syrian refugees face

File photo. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Tuesday is World Refugee Day.

Wilfrid Laurier University researcher, Bree Akesson, says the UN released a report this year, saying refugees are the largest number of people displaced from their homes since World War 2.

Akesson who’s been doing research on Syrian refugees in Lebanon says people often think refugees are trying to get into another country, like Canada, because it’s economically better, but that’s not the case.

“Most of the families I’ve spoken with in Lebanon who are displaced from Syria say they want to go back to Syria, that’s their biggest dream,” she says.

Akesson says she has found significant challenges that Syrian refugees face.

“Economic challenges are the biggest challenges they face,” she says.

Akesson adds there’s government policies and regulations that make it really hard for families to earn a livelihood, which in turn results in child labour.

She says Syrian refugees that come into Canada contribute to society with their diversity skills.

She says, “Syrian families can be advocates for what’s going on in Syria and can also be advocates for ending the war, which is really the only solution that’s going on there.”

Akesson says research has shown a lot of refugee families are separated from their friends and extended family.

She adds we can help families here by supporting their social support system.