Help Re-Unite A Refugee Family!

I can't imagine what I'd do if tomorrow, bombs started falling from the sky and violence made it impossible to stay where I was. What if I had to flee my home and never see my mom and dad again. My brothers and sisters. My nieces and nephews. My friends. Imagine how you'd feel if you had to leave your country, the only home you’ve ever known, not knowing if you’d ever see the people you love again. Imagine the pain. The loneliness. The heartache and worry for those you left behind. Put yourself in that position and ask yourself, how would you feel? This is a sad reality for many.

I'm Blair Roberts, a resident of Regina, Saskatchewan for the past 15 years. Nearly 2 years ago, I wrote about a life altering experience meeting Abdelkarim Elaiwy and Rawda Al Khalifa, along with their three beautiful children, Omar, Ali and Maria. It was life altering because meeting them put flesh and bone to the news stories that up until that point, I'd been able to keep a safe distance from. Their kindness and generosity created a new friendship and connection. Back then, they were new to Canada, a beautiful family from Syria which came in the first wave of Syrian refugees. You can read that story here: https://bit.ly/2J3E6HQ.  They've since added a fourth child, a bundle of joyful cuteness known as Fatima!
(Pictured Below)
This family has lived in Canada just over two years now. They have made Regina their home, dealt with our wild winters and overwhelming snow. I think they are officially Canucks now! Their English is continually getting better. They constantly express their gratitude to Canada for taking them in when they could not return to Syria. They still show the same kindness and generosity that shone through that first day we met them. In all our interactions since, there has been one thing that brings them great sorrow and sadness. They left everything behind, including their family. Some were lost to the chaos on the ground in Syria. Some got away and are safe elsewhere. Many are still in Syria. They came to Canada very much alone, with no family but each other. While they have made friends due to their kind natures, they miss family deeply. It's even more of a struggle knowing their family isn’t currently safe.

Now, imagine Omar, Ali, Maria and Fatima having the chance to grow up playing with their cousins every day at the park. Imagine Rawda hugging her brother as he lands at the airport, finding the family she thought was lost forever. Picture the family meals and celebrations they’d have, the ones that so many of us take for granted. Imagine the joy and beauty of that moment and the start of a new life together as a re-united family. We need your help to bring Rawda's brother and his family to Canada!

Rawda's brother, Mahomoud Al Khalif Ahmad, along with his wife, Mariam Alshehadah Adnan, and their three kids currently live in a refugee camp in Lebanon. (Pictured Below)
They have been there several years, waiting for an opportunity to live in a safe place. Rawda says they live in small, tight quarters with a zinc roof. While refugee camps serve an important function, they are places where people struggle to survive, and those that are vulnerable become even more unsafe. People are falling deeper into poverty in Lebanon's refugee camps, dealing with unstable and unsafe conditions. Some are returning to Syria, but it is still a war zone, considered unsafe by many to return. People have to choose between the impossible options of staying in a Refugee Camp or risk returning home to a war zone. Watch this December 2017 story from Al Jazeera to see a picture of the current situation: https://bit.ly/2Gj9Fjo. (Pictured Below, Photos of Mohamoud and Mariam's current residence)
There is a third option for those in refugee camps. One can be sponsored as a refugee, moving to a safe country where they can start a new life. That opportunity has finally come for Mahomoud and Mariam! The wonderful folks at a local Church in Regina (The church wishes to remain anonymous at this point) and those on their Refugee Committee have agreed to cover half the cost of a Private Sponsorship for Mahomoud and Mariam. Sponsorship is a costly process. It requires years of paperwork, funding requirements and guarantees that the person will be supported once in Canada. The Church group has already committed to work with another Government Sponsored Refugee family, and have decided to use the rest of their available budget to support a second family. They've decided to use this for Mohamoud and Mariam. The catch is that there is still much money needed in order to make this happen. Rawda and Abdelkarim have been tasked with covering the rest of the cost, which is approximately $16,500. They are working hard to make this happen, taking steps which include taking out a loan and using any available savings they have. My wife and I, along with other friends of the family, Faycal Haggui and Carla Beck, want to do everything we can to support them and ensure this process comes to fruition. If we can raise this money, it will happen!

We are shooting for a $10,000 fundraising goal by May 31st, 2018 to ensure that they can cover the cost without it being an undue hardship on either family. The more we can raise, the easier the transition to Canada will be. If we can raise more than our goal, it will all go towards the sponsorship of this family coming to Canada. The sooner the money is raised, the quicker the process can begin. Private Sponsorships take a long time to process, and can take up to two years from beginning to end. But without the money to make it happen, the clock won't start. All money raised will go directly to the Sponsorship process, flowing from the family to the Church in order to make sure the financial process is transparent and above board.

Please help this family re-unite! Not only is there a refugee family in need of safety, there is also an opportunity to bring family together that thought they may never see each other again. This is more than a cause. It’s a belief in the value of family and community. If that's not worth donating towards, I'm not sure what is!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. Communication with the Sponsoring Church is ongoing, and they are aware of our efforts to help make this happen. If there is any concern about ensuring the money will go directly to this cause, please reach out and we have ways of verifying the need. GoFundMe has a specific withdrawal process, where the campaign manager (myself) or a Beneficiary are the only ones able to withdraw funds. Since this is a campaign on behalf of another family, I will add Abdelkarim & Rawda Al Khalifa as Beneficiaries, ensuring the money will go to them once our goal is reached. Then they will be able to withdraw all money donated and pay the rest of the Sponsorship cost to the Church. We will update you every step of the way so you can be confident your money was spent the way it was intended. This GoFundMe effort is being run on behalf of both families involved, and they have given permission for these details to be shared and these efforts to happen.

Donations

  • Anonymous 
    • $3,300 
    • 26 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Mohamed Ibrahim 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Abdelkarim Al Elaiwy 
    • $50 
    • 26 mos
  • Kevin & Crystal Cornish 
    • $100 (Offline)
    • 26 mos
See all

Organizer

Blair Roberts 
Organizer
Regina, SK
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