Refugee student to be featured on CTV's W5

By Costa Maragos Posted: March 17, 2016 6:00 a.m.

The CTV crew was on campus to tell the story of U of R student Hany Al Moliya. (l-r) Jerry Vienneau (CTV), Hany Al Moliya, Kevin Newman (CTV Correspondent) and Brian Mellersh (CTV).
The CTV crew was on campus to tell the story of U of R student Hany Al Moliya. (l-r) Jerry Vienneau (CTV), Hany Al Moliya, Kevin Newman (CTV Correspondent) and Brian Mellersh (CTV). Photo - External Relations.

The long and sometimes painful odyssey of student Hany Al Moliya will be featured in an upcoming episode of CTV’s current affairs and documentary program, W5.

Al Moliya and his family fled war-torn Syria in 2011 and ended up in a refugee camp in Lebanon. The family, parents and six siblings, spent three years in the camp before being granted asylum in Canada.

W5 correspondent Kevin Newman was on campus recently to follow Al Moliya, who is enrolled in the U of R’s English as a Second Language program.

“I thought if there was any way to explain to Canadians, who it is and the kind of people that are arriving, then he (Al Moliya) might be a good subject matter,” says Newman. “He speaks quite good English that he taught himself in a refugee camp. Secondly, he is also quite exceptional.”

Al Moliya has gone to great lengths to get his story, and those of fellow refugees, to the public. Despite his vision impairment, Al Moliya took thousands of pictures that chronicled the lives of refugees in Lebanon.

ESL Class

CTV cameraman Jerry Vienneau captures a moment from this English as a Second Language class led by Instructor Myra Froc (l). Hany Al Moliya is working on his English skills to help him further his university education. Photo from External Relations.

Those pictures caught the attention of many people, including a film crew from the United Nations Human Rights Commission. That crew followed Al Moliya while in the camp and to the moment he left for Canada.

Newman picks up the story from there.

“It’s a bigger struggle than people imagine. If you can imagine not speaking a word of English and then being plunked down in the middle of Regina, you realize how much navigation that has to go on and how many things are unfamiliar,” says Newman.

Al Moliya’s story also caught the attention of U of R President Dr. Vianne Timmons who found enough anonymous donors to cover the cost of some of his education.

You can read Al Moliya’s story in greater detail here where he is featured on the cover of our most recent edition of Degrees Magazine.

“The U of R and its adult education program is a classic hand-up, not a hand out to help him get established,” says Newman. “He’s got an academic mind. For him personally, because he was an academic in Syria, just to get back on campus again feels really good to Hany. It’s a big sign that he can go on with his life now, with that three-year refugee period of his life behind him – and he’s back in a learning environment, where he’s happiest.”

Watch Kevin Newman’s story, Saturday March 19, 7 p.m. local time on the CTV network.

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The University of Regina's English as a Second Language department offers you opportunities to study English, including customized programs, to meet your academic, professional or social goals. For more information please visit here.