Bringing Syrian Families to Canada
In light of the news of the last few days, I would love to share an opportunity to do good and create hope. We are reaching out to our American/Canadian (or anywhere else!) friends and family to ask for your help. We feel incredibly grateful to live in a Canada where the borders not only remain open, but where we as citizens have the opportunity to sponsor and support refugees fleeing their countries for a better life here. We are a part of a group of friends (we call ourselves "True North") that applied a year ago to support two Syrian families. We were excited to welcome the first of those families (a mother and son) last month. See the photo of us picking them up at the airport! And we are hopeful the second family will arrive in the coming weeks.
The commitment we make as a sponrsor group is to support them for their first year in Canada, and beyond if necessary, e.g., getting settled, finding a place to live, learning English, finding jobs etc etc. This will require a minimum of CA$100,000 (we have raised $80k to date!) and we welcome any support you wish to provide. If we exceed our target then we plan to support additional refugee families.
Our donations, and yours, will pay for their rent, groceries, school, winter clothing and any other expenses that arise during their year. Any donation will make a direct impact - in a real and tangible way - for these families who are starting over. I hope you can support us as we help them start new lives full of hope, opportunity and peace. 100% of your donations will go directly to the families we sponsor.
Family 1: A son and his mother, arrived December 15th. The son had just completed his dental training in Syria and has diligently been studying since his arrival so he can get requalified in Canada. His determination is inspiring!
Family 2: A husband, wife and their 4 children (ages 3-16), arriving this winter/spring (exact date TBD based on the government approval)
Looking forward to sharing updates with you all on both families in the coming weeks.
Please note: Because our group is not a registered charity, we cannot issue tax receipts for your donation. The funds for this campaign will be withdrawn by myself and 100% wired to our group's treasurer (Andrew Graham). Andrew set up a bank account for our True North Group and the funds will be deposited into that account; 100% of the funds will be used to support the Syrian families we are supporting. Each family will recieve from us a monthly stipend to support all their living expenses.
A mom, dad and their four kids arrives on Monday! This family has been living in Sudan for four years since fleeing Syria. We were matched with them two years ago and after many delays, we are overjoyed that they can start their next chapter here. Over the last two weeks, our True North group has secured them a rental house, furniture, winter coats, donated phones and medical appointments. We are learning about schools in their new neighbourhood and programs for the kids.
Your generous support has been so key to our ability to provide all of this, so a gigantic thank you! If you are feeling inspired, feel free to give more or send this fundraising site to your network. We could use every dollar to make this transition as smooth as possible for them. I will post pictures when they arrive!
I also wanted to update you on Khaled and Amira who arrived last December. They are doing incredibly well! Over the Labour Day weekend, they came up to the cottage of one of True North's members with another Syrian family (see the photos) and it was great to see them tubing behind the boat and playing games on the beach (who knew Amira loves ping pong!). I am also excited to report that Khaled found a job working in a dental lab near his home. He is delighted to have meaningful employment that is helping him learn English and advance his ability to become an accredited dentist here in Canada. What's really amazing (and a testament to his ambition) is that he found this job completely on his own, using his connections, confidence and ability.
His mother, Amira, misses her other children and grandchildren and has had a more difficult transition, but she has recently started to create her own community of friends near their home. She babysits for neighbours, cooks for friends and is starting to build her own life and network here in Canada. Earlier this year, our group decided to raise some additional funds to bring Khaled’s sister, with her husband and two daughters, to Canada. We had to scramble to find a "spot" (there are only a certain number allocated for refugees to come) but were incredibly lucky to attain one and their application is now in motion…so now we wait and hope!
Know your support has gotten us to this wonderful place. With such gratitude and excitement!
Our team has agreed to move ahead with submitting an application for supporting another family. This will be our third family. It's Khaled's sister and her family. It will take a while before we can welcome them to Canada though... Exciting!
Meanwhile we are still waiting for the first family (of five) that we applied for. The process is moving forward but slowly...They are stuck in Khartoum (Sudan) where they have been living under tough conditions since having to flee Syria two years back.. We are supporting them financially, staying in touch, and hoping that we will see them soon!
Your donations are highly welcome!
Khaled and Amira continue to be settling into life here in Canada with hope and gratitude and an incredible determination to succeed. Khaled studies about 10 hours/day for his dental course. He is so disciplined and diligent as he prepares for his first accreditation exam in August. Amira has found an English language class that is a short bus ride from their apartment and will be starting lessons this week. She told us on Sunday that she wants to learn English mainly to be able to communicate with all the "wonderful people we've met in this group."
Khaled is eager to help us when our second family arrives (hopefully this spring) and Khaled even made a small donation to our fundraising efforts himself!
Khaled and Amira have friends from Syria who immigrated to Canada in October. It has been comforting and helpful to have someone from their "old life" here as they started their new Canadian one. This family has 3 lovely boys who are in public school here in Canada - speaking English, making friends and thriving! We invited them to join us on Sunday and within minutes of arriving their boys were playing "mini-sticks hockey" with the other kids. Pretty special--and Canadiana!
Thank you all for being a part of this journey with us and thanks to your generosity, we are planning to get the paperwork underway to support another family.
Khaled and Amira wanted us to make sure to tell you all how grateful they are for your support (as is our whole group).