Uruguay welcomes Syrian refugees
People wait for the arrival of Syrian refugees to the "Casa San Jose" (San Jose house) of the Maristas religious congregation in the outskirts of Montevideo, October 9, 2014. Reuters

The Syrian civil war has already forced over three million people out of the country, creating a crisis that the U.N. refugee agency says requires a massive operation, if not the biggest in history. For this, Uruguayan President José Mujica and his government decided to kick off their initiative to welcome Syrian families into their country where they will start new lives, take Spanish classes and the adults have been assured jobs. This weekend, Uruguay welcomed five Syrian families made up by 42 people all together, who came from Beirut, Lebanon where they started their life-changing journey.

CNN reports that emotions were high at the airport; the soon to be refugees were nervous of what lies ahead for them, yet excited about the beginning of this journey. Most of them had never been on a plane, but were surely relieved to see the new technology that awaits them in a world where they’ll be able to give their children a great education. Secretary of Human Rights, Javier Miranda said, “It is a great challenge. Traveling a quarter of the earth searching for a new opportunity of life is not just anything.

The families will be placed in the outskirts of Montevideo, at a Catholic home called San José where they will settle for the next few weeks. President José Mujica welcomed the refugees and expressed his hopes that other countries take on the same direction, stating “it’s the only direction to take.” Other countries like Argentina and Brazil are expected to receive refugees in 2015, but Uruguay is the first one in the region to assume all resettlement costs.

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