My contacts have been writing with encouraging updates about the families they have sponsored. Here’s another.
A bit of background. I met a group made up of seven women about a year ago. They were willing to sponsor whatever family was most in need. I mention the gender because the family they ended up welcoming consists of mother, father and FOUR SONS! (For reasons of confidentiality, I am not providing the name of the group. But I am very grateful for their hard work and kindness.)
All six arrived in November, and have found their first months of Canadian life to be very cold but enjoyable.
The husband and wife are in their forties, and are taking ESL classes. The two older boys are already eager students in High School.
I spoke of “gloom” in my last post. The reason is that a policy which had been important in promoting private sponsorship of refugees from the crisis in and around Syria has now been suspended.
As I understand things, there had been an exemption in place which allowed Groups of Five to apply to sponsor Iraqis and Syrians who did not already have UN certification. That is, ordinarily, an overseas refugee needs to get certified first by the UNHRC (or, in certain instances, by the government where they have sought refuge), and then a sponsor in Canada can begin the application process to bring them here. Under this exemption, the Iraqi or Syrian family would instead be certified by Canadian officials overseas, once a G5 application was approved.
This exemption allowed Londoners to put forward many applications which would otherwise have been impossible — because the UN, being utterly overwhelmed with cases, had effectively stopped issuing certificates.
The upshot would seem to be that unless a potential sponsoree has UN certification already, there is no longer anything we can do to help.
Please see here for the details: http://www.rstp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/FAQ-on-Public-Policy-G5-and-CS.pdf
As promised, I am writing with some positive news, to counteract the overarching gloom. This time, the subject is family “K”.
About one year ago, I was able to pair up a young Syrian man in his 20s, a graduate student here at Western, with a single very generous local donor. The donor offered to cover the whole family’s expenses. As a result, this student managed to rescue his father and mother, a sister around his same age, and a 10-year-old brother. They had been two years on the run.
The new arrivals have certainly faced challenges. The life of refugees, even once safe in Canada, isn’t all roses. The sister is receiving weekly medical care for a kidney condition; and not understanding English made the treatments frightening at first. And the ten-year-old brother could use some entertaining activities, as he feels rather isolated at present.
Still, all five are full of hope for the future, and refuse to cling to past suffering. They have located a match for organ donation, and the sister is scheduled for a kidney transplant. The familiar are in regular contact with their kind and caring Canadian sponsor. And they are convinced that, given the warm welcome they have received already, Canada is the best place to pursue their future.
The son, who wrote to me with this update, promised not to forget the generosity the family has experienced, and to offer the same to others in the future. As he said, “Life is like a wheel, it has to be make a 360 degree turn to continue the cycle of life, so one day you give, the other day you will be given by others in return.”
Salaam and welcome!