Fixer-Upper for Refugee Women

$16,681 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 226 people in 26 months
Al Effendi
on behalf of Ashley Derrick
Two women from Aleppo, Syria, made it through the intense vetting system into the United States - via Jordan - and to the Atlanta area eight months ago. The two women are thankfully alive but they are having a tough time here.  A 19-year-old and her 54-year-old mother are all that is probably left of a family from Aleppo, as the father and brother have been missing for months and are presumed dead. 

They are taking English classes and looking for work (they have all necessary papers) to support themselves.  As of September, when the women celebrated their third month in the U.S., they stopped receiving rent assistance and faced the prospect of homelessness. A house has now been provided to them and with some work, this 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house will become their home until they get back on their feet and can hopefully start living a more normal life.  Of course, "normal" is difficult to determine, grasping what they have been through.

It takes a village! So, we are asking for funds to help refurbish the home (painting inside and out, some HVAC work, and to help with utilities in the coming months). Our goal is to raise $10,000, which will go into an escrow account to pay for services rendered and monthly utility bills for this family, or possibly for other refugee families who may use the house in the future. 

Ashley is the owner of the house. She will withdraw the funds in her name into a checking account set up for the refugee women. The funds will be used to pay contractors for repairs done to the home prior to the women moving in. So far, these repairs have included: Fixing roof leaks, installing insulation, replacing damaged flooring, replacing damaged siding, stripping peeling interior paint and applying new paint, and fixing damaged plumbing. Some goods services have been donated by volunteers and local contractors.  If there is money left over after the necessary repairs have been done, that money will remain in the account and be used to pay utility bills and maintain the home. If the women experience any emergencies, be they medical or financial, the money may be used to assist in covering those expenses. 

I am a coordinator for the co-sponsorship of another refugee family in the Atlanta area. Seeing the difference that this kind of support makes, and seeing the difficulties that these women are facing without it, I began this fundraiser as the representative of a group of concerned friends and neighbors--including the refugee family I have worked with, who were neighbors of the women while all were in Jordan.

Only 10% of refugees benefit from a co-sponsor organization after resettling in America. This family is relying solely on the kindness and generosity of others as they are not part of that 10%.  We have amazing friends/contractors who are helping with much of this at cost, but we still need financial help to provide for this family.  Even $5.00 goes a long way.  Many thanks!
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From Al:

Sorry to send two updates in a day, but I thought y'all would like to see some of how your money has been spent.

The two attached photos show rooms of the house before it was fixed up and this week.

When I first saw this house, I knew it had potential, but in order to realize that potential, a lot needed to be done. I was right.

But thanks to you all, to the work of volunteers, and especially Ashley, the place is not only liveable, it's a real home--the first one the women will have had since they were forced to flee Aleppo.

There are many refugee families that do not have the support of a church or organization. After the meager government funding runs out, they are on their own, and many struggle to survive. Please continue to keep these families in your thoughts, and if you have friends, families, or coworkers who are looking for ways to help, there are other GoFundMe campaigns that our Refugee Alliance are helping out:
This is the home today!
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We wanted to update everyone who has so generously donated to the family. The ladies will be moving into the home next week and the home looks wonderful! Your contributions allowed us to equip the home with a new stove, new fridge, new paint job, refurbished tub, new insulation, new flooring for the kitchen and will cover some of their living expenses for the time being. Many have donated gorgeous furniture and rugs to the home as well.

We look forward to getting them in and settled and feeling safe. We are making the home available to them for one year and hope to be able to transition them to independence in that time. Please don't hesitate to keep this go fund me going! Alison and I are working with them on financial planning and other efforts to assist them and we have set up a bank account specifically for the ladies and every small donation has and will continue to help them along the way.

If you would like to stay involved with assisting them or just being updated, please reach out to me at and I will keep you on the list.

Many thanks - Ashley
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Good morning, everyone! There has been so much going on since the last update: Most of the work on the house has been completed; Awach and Khawla will be able to move in well before the rent runs out at their current digs.

We have raised enough money to get done what needs to get done, with enough left to pay utilities for up to a year. We cannot thank you enough for your generosity.

In the past month, our Decatur, GA-area Refugee Alliance has connected with five other Syrian families that do not have a co-sponsor to help them out. All of them have crucial needs, including one family with a 13 year-old daughter with grave autism and cerebral palsy.

Below are links to the GoFundMe pages for those families. You have all given enough already, and I cannot ask you to give more, but if you would please share these links, we would sure appreciate it.

Family with daughter with autism & CP:

Torture victim, pregnant wife, and children:

Tailor and family needs help getting his business set up:

Isolated family needs help with high rent while they look for cheaper housing:

Thank you all again.
-- Al, Ashley, Amanda, Marnie, Paula, and all the volunteers and families in the Refugee Alliance
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I have my phone notifications set to make a cheery alert sound every time this campaign gets a donation. It has made my day, every day for the past two and a half weeks, when my phone chimes again and again--and again!

We have raised enough to cover the necessary repairs, and there is probably enough left to cover the utility bills for at least six months. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart! I have witnessed the tears of gratitude from Em Mohamad and Khawla. You have made a huge difference in their lives; you have given them a chance to make it in their own.

There are many other refugee families who have run out of the scant financial assistance provided by the government. Only 10% are fortunate enough to get a church, college organization, or other group to help them out.

I urge you all to share links of online fundraisers that you find for such families.

Thank you again.
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$16,681 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 226 people in 26 months
Created January 18, 2017
Al Effendi
on behalf of Ashley Derrick
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Pam Dooley
24 months ago

From the team at Plants Creative!

25 months ago
25 months ago
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