Workshops were held in Waterloo Saturday to give private sponsors a chance to learn about Syrian refugees.

“We want to introduce them to the culture and the traditions of the Syrian population,” said Iman Arab, a volunteer with Bring Back Hope.

“Probably not very many of us knew much about the Syria that pre-existed to (the war). Syria was very rich in culture and history,” Kristine Lund with the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary said. 

“We felt it would be important for the volunteers to have a sense of context out of which the refugees would be coming, because they will be very proud of their culture,” she continued.

The seminars were organized by a number of local groups including the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.

For many sponsors this is the final preparation after months of fundraising and organizing.

By the end of this month 270 refugees will call the region home with another 880 arriving in the new year.

Those attending the workshop are hoping the information they learn will help make resettlement for the refugees a bit easier.

“For the volunteers to understand a little bit about trauma and how to be supportive of people who have experienced difficult things, and how to look after themselves as they sometimes may be listening to some challenging stories,” Lund said.

 The workshop proved so popular that there was a wait list to attend. Organizers hope to hold another one in the future.