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A future for Maya, Ramy and Sophia (9 years old)

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A future for Maya, Ramy and Sophia (9 years old)
Thank you for taking the time to read this story and to give this sweet family a chance on a future. Please continue reading to learn more about their situation.

In this text:
  • A summary of the situation
  • Their life in Syria
  • Their life in Malaysia
  • Why only donations are allowed
  • How much we need (and why)
  • Why we are organizing this fundraising effort
  • A word from Ramy
  • Benefits of helping

If you don’t want to read it all, then at least read the word from Ramy 

A summary of the situation
In December 2016 when Maya and Ramy had just built their dream house, Sophia was 1,5 year old and they were ready to expand their little family, the war in Syria dramatically changed their lives. Ramy had 24hours to leave Syria or his life would be at serious risk. They had never left Syria before, did not speak English very well and did not have a lot of time to decide where to flee to. He left his daughter and wife and fled to Malaysia.
The main reason Ramy chose Malaysia was due to his Syrian passport. Malaysia offers a visa on arrival for Syrian citizens. But Ramy discovered that Malaysia is not part of the Asylum agreement with the United Nations. Being a refugee in Malaysian law means “just” overstaying a visa. No healthcare, no school for your refugee children, no bank account. Just a pause in your life, not only a pause of war, but a pause of everything. Your life. On hold.

In 2017, after being apart for approximately 11 months, Ramy was reunited with his wife Maya and daughter Sophia, then 2,5 years old.

In 2018 we (who started this campaign) met in Malaysia while traveling around the world with our daughter who is the same age as Sophia. With help from our friends in Canada and Maya and Ramy’s own efforts they had the chance to apply for a permanent residency in Canada in December 2020.

And here we need your help! They have gone through the whole (very slow due to Covid) process and are waiting for their medical screening, but for the government to approve your application you need $27.076,00 CAD. You cannot finance this yourself because you can’t “buy” your way into Canada, that is illegal. This money has to come SOLELY from donations and you need proof of the funds. That’s why we have set up this GoFundMe page-

For them to start their future after being on hold for 8 years due to a terrible war.

Their life in Syria
In Syria Maya was a teacher and Ramy worked in the shipping business.
Ramy has 14 years of experience in the maritime shipping industry, holding a career position with the Grimaldi Group agency in Syria.
Sophia was born in March 2015. Although the war was already going on since 2011, it was still something that didn’t effect them at that time. They built a house and were hoping to expand their family when all of a sudden Ramy’s life was at risk. He had 24 hours to leave the country.

Their life in Malaysia
Although they have no rights in Malaysia, no healthcare, no school for Sophia, they decided to not just sit around and do nothing. They opened a Syrian restaurant and work day and night for a very small wage since the salaries in Malaysia are low. Although it’s officially not allowed the authorities condone the situation. But Maya, Ramy and Sophia live in constant fear this could come to end. Despite that they do everything in their power to save as much money as they can for a future for Sophia. Their restaurant has an excellent ranking reputation on both Google Maps and TripAdvisor thanks to their wonderful hospitality and great food! (

Since Sophia is not allowed to go to school she participates in online studies through a homeschooling program, but the primary concern is her lack of social interaction with children her own age. Unfortunately, this opportunity is available only in ordinary schools which is not allowed in her current situation in Malaysia. If they could move to Canada she would finally have access to a good school system. Something she looks forward to the most. Going to a “real school” like she says.

Why only donations are allowed
As mentioned above you cannot buy your way into Canada. Canada has strict immigration rules and one of the rules is that you can only come if you have enough money through donations. Once you are selected for citizenship you need to find a sponsor. In this case it’s St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral in Ottawa. They will help Maya, Ramy and Sophia in their first year in Canada to get settled. They will also be the beneficiary for them and all donations are made to the church.

How much do we need?
The total amount is $27.076,- CAD with the costs for GoFundMe (0.25 cent of very donation + 2,9% for GoFundMe) we need to collect $30.000,-

For more information about the total amount we need according to the Canadian government:

The money will be paid monthly by the church to Ramy and Maya to help them settle during their first year. Of course they will start working as soon as possible, but this amount is a guarantee they can get their life on track in a year.

Why we organize this fundraising
When we Marry, Denny and Liv, travelled the world for a year we ended our trip in Malaysia. When looking for a good restaurant we found Maya’s and Ramy’s restaurant. Sophia had a separate playroom in the restaurant. We started talking to Ramy and he told us he had a daughter. We said Liv would be happy to play, so Sophia came out and the rest is history. They played like 3 year old’s do, but with the big difference that
our daughter Liv is born in the Netherlands and had a whole different future waiting for her. We decided there and then we wanted to help. 5 years later the day is finally here to make it happen. We hope with this last step they can finally have the life they deserve! This family is so sweet and kind and always so positive and after having to leave everything behind and now waiting in insecurity for so long, they deserve to have a future like you and me.

A word from Ramy
Canada holds a unique meaning for each of us.
For Sophia, it represents the opportunity for a proper education, something she hasn't had in Malaysia. It also means experiencing the joy of winter, like building snowmen.
For Maya, it signifies a return to the comfort and security of a warm home – something she lost in Syria. It's a place where she won't have to fear while she work.
For me, as a father and husband, Canada feels like a formidable challenge, a mythical monster I must conquer to fulfill my family's dreams and secure their safety.

Benefits of helping
We know there is a lot going on in the world and sometimes it’s hard to chose who to help. With your generous help you know this family will be able to start working on their future in Canada, and who knows what Sophia will bring to our world! Besides that, we can tell from our own experience that Maya’s falafel is amazing! Once they are settled in Canada and you are in the Ottawa region and helped with the donations you are MORE THAN WELCOME to stop by and come and try Maya’s falafel for free.


  • Anonymous
    • $10,379 
    • 21 d
  • Zuzanna Majek
    • $20 
    • 1 mo
  • 8 donations from the NL
    • $264 
    • 2 mos
  • lori chavez
    • $100 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $12,398 
    • 2 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Marry Fermont
Ottawa, ON
St Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral

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