Make a Lasting Difference: Donate to save a life

My recorded interview with Refugee Portal Podcast:
What UBC journals say:

Help me to see the smile on their faces again, please!

I am Shaza, a 21-year-old Syrian girl and a newcomer to Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada. I am from Homs, Syria. I am here alone. My family members are still in Lebanon, living as refugees.

I am a student in the faculty of Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC), sponsored by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC).

I am asking for your help to bring my family to Canada. I know that you have been a source of hope for many. Now you are my hope. Please help me. 

My family is of four siblings, three brothers:

*Yazan, 20 years old

*Ahmad, 16 years old

*Anas, 9 years old

and a sister: *Marleen, 12 years old.

If I succeed by fundraising this amount of money I would be able to save the lives of my family and I will be able to see them again! 
No words can explain how much I am missing them. On top of that knowing that they are not doing good there.

My eldest brother’s life is threatened in Lebanon. Yazan is 20 years old. the required age for the Syrian military service where each moment is a danger to his life.

Since June 19, 2012 we lost our normal life to become refugees in Lebanon. we lost our home. Some of our relatives have escaped, others have died.

We have started our completely new and suffering journey in Lebanon as many other refugees do. But what is added now is that, the Syrian government are asking for my 20-years old brother to be back to Syria to become part of the Syrian army. That would mean he would be forced either to kill innocent people or be killed himself.

Recently, the Lebanese government called my brother to their office, asking him to become a legal resident in Lebanon, which requires him to cross the border into Syria, then cross back into Lebanon. This border-crossing is impossible because, if he were to pass into Syria, the Syrian government would take him into the Syrian army and not allow him to return to Lebanon.

The Lebanese government requires my family to pay $200 US per person over 14, for each year they stay in Lebanon. The total is $4,000 US, my family should pay to be a legal resident in Lebanon. Without the ability to work, paying these fees is impossible.

My father is an auto mechanic, and my mother is a teacher, but in Lebanon:
they are not allowed to work, the restrictions from the Lebanese government, the mandatory work permit which is prohibitively expensive, and having legal residence status are some of the barrier that prevent any chance for a normal life.

My family's situation in Lebanon is desperate. They updated the UNHCR in Lebanon about their bad situation especially in the last months: my father needs a very quick surgery due to an illness in his heart, it happens around 5 times per week when he loses his consciousness and the heart beating stops. this surgery cost a lot of money which my family do not have, A person said he will help my family in their resident papers but they need to give him 1,000 US $ to pay it as a conciliation with the Lebanese government instead of paying 4,000 US $; my family thought if they do that, then they can look for a job a little easier and then do the job permit. My brother could borrow some money and with some more collections from his savings he could offer that man what he asked, but then the man just stole the money and disappears, he is even not responding to any call from anyone. Although there are evidences for all of that starting from records to texts, all of that have been told to the UNHCR but they are doing nothing to help my family.

Now my family are out of money and of any basic medications for my father situation which is as UNHCR says it is not covered, adding to that the very cold snowy weather now in Lebanon when my family are not warm, and they cannot pay to buy fuels.

At this moment, my family lives in Beqaa, Lebanon where there are continuous demonstrations by the Lebanese people, blocking the roads and making fires.

Consequently, there are more check points and more danger of my brother being captured. The Lebanese army would like to help the Syrian government by sending my brother back to Syria. I will be devastated if I lose another family member.

He has been out of school for two years now, working at night in a restaurant, trying to earn very little money for rent and basic essentials for my family (Syrian workers are paid supper below the legal average of payment there/longer work time).

He wants passionately to be a photographer and reporter, but now his dream is being stolen. He can not even apply for the same sponsorship I got because he need to be graduated from a high school with grade 12 certificate first then, to be able to study at a university or be eligible to apply. So please help him, please help us all.

How We Became Refugees:

We left Syria on June 19, 2012, the day after I lost my 21-year-old cousin in a horrible car explosion caused by shots on his car from a military tank. He was leaving our house with my uncle’s family when the tank shot at his car causing it to explode. He was killed and burned; we could not take him out of his burning car. The members of the family, two kids (3-years-old-girl and 5-months-old-boy) and their mom, had severe injuries. At that time, there were no medications in our area for their burns or injuries. All night long they screamed in pain of fractures and burns while the horrible sounds of bombing from surrounded us. The murder and injuries all took place in front of our eyes. We could not stay in our home with the huge amount of bombing and the siege. We lost our home and cannot be back to Syria.
Now my brother is old enough for the Syrian government to force him to join the army. The Lebanese army would like to help the Syrian government by sending my brother back to Syria. 

The Fund-raising Campaign:

I am working hard for any chance to bring my family to Canada. They need me and I need your help.  Although the required money is too much, I am not going to lose hope. For the Canadian government to accept the application of my family, at least $35,200 Canadian is required for my family to be sponsored. This money will pay for my family’s basic necessities of life during their first year in Canada.  Once the funds are available, my family can be sponsored in one of two ways, either by the help of a registered charity as a community sponsor, or by forming a group of five individual sponsors who are either permanent residents or citizens of Canada.
However, if I can raise the required funds by March 1st, I have a chance to fast-track my family’s sponsorship application through the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a Sponsorship Agreement Holder.  This would make the process much quicker and easier. MCC BC requires 100% of this amount to be available before we submit the sponsorship application.  MCC does not have any resources to fund the sponsorship of refugees.


Please help me to sponsor my family and bring them to Canada; I want to save the life of my family. I cannot live without their safety, want to help my brother to reach his dream and be a reporter and photographer, but I cannot save them without your help.

Please help us.

Thank you in advance,

*Note: Names have been changed in order to protect the identity of endangered individuals.

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Shaza Sh 
Vancouver, BC

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