“With the bombs being tossed from the helicopters above us, it was all we could do to hide in the basement hallway of our home, cover our ears and hope we didn’t die. Even in the middle of all that, we clung to family and we still tried to laugh, for no other reason than to know we were still alive.”
Hearing this come, matter-of-factly, from the young woman sitting across the table from me in a busy restaurant made me realize just how disconnected many of us are with what is happening around the world. At 14 years of age, Ms. Khaito and her family had to fight for her life every day they remained in Syria. They would hide from Assad’s army in fear of being executed. They would make an escape under cover of night. They would lose family and never know what happened to them, and then had to live in fear in Lebanon because of the racism there against Syrians. It was only when she arrived in Canada that she knew she was safe.
Ms. Khaito, who is completing her high school in Peterborough, is the writer and director of the short film Live Broadcast.
With the help of a film school in Lebanon, who produced the film, she was able to use her passion of using film to tell stories, thanks in large part to a woman she met in Lebanon who convinced her to pursue and deepen her passion for using pictures and film to tell stories. The school, called Action for Hope, was founded to provide cultural development and cultural relief programs that meet the social, cultural, and psychological needs of distressed and displaced communities.
Amany’s Hope, a local refugee sponsorship group, is proud and honoured to host Shahed Khaito, a young Canadian Syrian living in Peterborough, as she presents her story and short film of what she and her family went through as they escaped Syria and began the long tortuous journey to freedom in Canada.