They’re known for having sheltered Edward Snowden. Now settled in Montreal, this family looks to the future

Supun Thilina Kellapatha and Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis smiled as they watched their children fling themselves within the freshly fallen snow closing week.

“there is no snow in Sri Lanka or Hong Kong,” Kellapatha mentioned.

It Has Been four months because the family that helped shelter whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong arrived in Montreal after Canada granted them asylum. Now, they are embracing the frosty weather and their new existence.

“My youngsters have just right long term in Montreal and it’s a peaceful town,” Kellapatha said.

Their journey, regardless that, has been the rest but easy.

They're known for having sheltered Edward Snowden. Now settled in Montreal, this family looks to the future

Sethumdi Kellapatha, 10, and her brother Dinath, FIVE, realized how you can make snow angels after their first ever snow fall. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Earlier Than their children have been born, Kellapatha and Nonis left Sri Lanka, seeking asylum in Hong Kong.

It used to be there that they met Snowden, a former contractor with the U.S. Nationwide Safety Agency who had fled to Hong Kong after leaking categorised documents. The documents exposed the scope of big executive surveillance operations.

Staff of asylum seekers sheltered Snowden

The couple were among a bunch of asylum seekers who sheltered Snowden in 2013. Kellapatha said he believes it was destiny that brought Snowden to his door.

“i was born in Sri Lanka. I also have trouble, i need to leave out my us of a. i don’t understand why I chose Hong Kong,”  Kellapatha mentioned from a park close to their rental in Montreal’s St-Laurent borough.

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“Whilst Snowden wanted to get out, there are many nations within the global. He selected Hong Kong.”

Kellapatha and his circle of relatives joined Vanessa Rodel in Montreal. Rodel was every other asylum seeker who helped safe haven Snowden in Hong Kong. She has a daughter with Kellapatha, and has been in Montreal for the reason that 2019.

The closing of the crowd, Ajith Pushpakumara, remains in Hong Kong watching for his immigration approval from Canada.

They're known for having sheltered Edward Snowden. Now settled in Montreal, this family looks to the future

the crowd of asylum seekers who helped safe haven Edward Snowden are observed in Hong Kong in February, 2017. They Are: Kellapatha, 3rd left, Nonis, left, Dinath and Sethumdi, with their parents. Plus, Sri Lankan refugee Ajith Pushpakumara, third proper, and Filipino refugee Vanessa Rodel, proper, with her daughter Keana. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Pictures)

Adjusting to their new lifestyles

“Je parle un petit francais et anglais,” stated Sethumdi Kellapatha, 10. 

She has taken little time to adjust to her new Montreal existence, already finding out French with gusto. When the circle of relatives got the news they might be coming to Montreal, Sethumdi immediately downloaded the language app Duolingo to have a step up in school.

Her brother Dinath, FIVE, could also be studying the language, but prefers to play out of doors in the snow and pass on adventures with “Aunty Sammy.”

That’s Samya Lemrini, an immigration legal professional and a board member of For the Refugees, the crowd that backed the Kellapatha family. On Account That their arrival, Lemrini has been by means of their side, giving the family a crash direction on Quebecois tradition, together with visits to an apple orchard and a sugar shack.

“i feel so humbled to have the ability to satisfy them and to spend time with them,” Lemrini mentioned.

” … They Have taught me so much.”

Spending time with Lemrini and understanding their own historical past may have rubbed off at the kids. When asked what they need to be when they develop up, they didn’t hesitate.

“i would like to be a lawyer!” Sethumdi stated.

“I additionally want to be a legal professional! A soldier attorney!” Dinath echoed.

They're known for having sheltered Edward Snowden. Now settled in Montreal, this family looks to the future

almost immediately after arriving in Montreal, Kellapatha and his family have been taken apple picking. (Submitted by means of Samya Lemrini)

Securing a future for his or her youngsters

but the adjustment hasn’t been as simple for their oldsters. With fortify from For the Refugees, the family has been capable of calm down, however Nonis and Kellapatha fear about discovering a job.

“we really wish to find a role. Staying in Hong Kong, we can’t work, so we don’t retailer the rest for our youngsters’ long term,” stated Nonis.

“We wish to increase their long term now.”

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“I informed my attorneys earlier than I came right here, I said ‘While I land in Canada, i do not want to rest, i want to paintings,'” stated Kellapatha.

He worries his lack of enjoy won’t play in his favour. He spent 17 years in Hong Kong, and as a refugee, he was no longer allowed to paintings. 

not just do Nonis and Kellapatha need to supply for his or her family, but they’re additionally bored.

“It Is similar to Hong Kong, the life that we’ve got. wake up, consume and sleep,” mentioned Kellapatha.

“i need to start my profession.” 

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