About USRefugee Aid Canada is comprised of a group of concerned citizens in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Our initial goal was to sponsor a family of four or five Syrian refugees.
UPDATE January 2018
Our first Syrian newcomer family of four have now been in Ottawa for a little over a year. They are still taking classes - two of them are in ESL for adults, one is in LINC, and the other started in LINC and is now taking courses at the Adult High School. It has been a busy year for them. In addition to courses and health care appointments, they have participated in workshops, community events, festivals, shopping excursions, and recreational activities. The girls learned how to skate and ride bicycles. They also attended job fairs and interviews and three of them are now working part time. In addition, one of the couple's older daughters joined them in Ottawa in the spring of 2017 with her husband and two young children.
We are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of our second Syrian family, who should be in Ottawa by the spring of 2018. They are a young couple with four children who are currently based in Lebanon. The latest news is that they have sucessfully gone through their interviews at the embassy in Beirut.
Previous UPDATE January 2017
It gives us great pleasure to inform you all that our family from Syria, whom we are sponsoring, finally arrived in Ottawa at 11:30 PM on January 4th, 2017. This joyous occasion would not have been possible without the generous donations of our sponsorship group along with associated volunteers, family, and friends. This humanitarian gesture of good will has been instrumental in giving our family hope for a brighter future in Canada, especially the two young daughters who are of school age. They have endured four years of arduous life, under constant threat of being put in harm's way, but now they are safe, and look forward to new beginnings in Ottawa, Canada, where they can live in peace and freedom.
Our Sponsorship Team along with a host of committed volunteers have worked tirelessly to make preparations for their arrival. They now continue to work to ensure that the family is well settled in Ottawa, and that over the next several months they will begin to enjoy some of the benefits that our community has to offer, especially in the field of education, health, job opportunities and recreational activities.
These contributions in cash and kind have helped us transform the lives of this family, from despair to one of hope and aspirations. On behalf of our family and all of us at Refugee Aid Canada, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for all the contributions to this worthy cause, and hope that we will continue to receive your support to help more families who are still suffering inhumane conditions in war zones.
Refugee Aid Canada is also happy to report that our application to sponsor another Syrian Family of six has been approved. They are currently located in Lebanon and we are expecting them to arrive in the summer of 2017. We look forward to reporting more news about this family as the application progresses through the system.
Previous UPDATE July 2016
Refugee Aid Canada is a Constituent Group of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. The group has submitted a PSR application to sponsor a Syrian Family of 5 currently located in Lebanon, which we are anticipating would arrive in the summer of 2017. In addition to the PSR application, we will also be sponsoring another refugee family through the BVOR program. This BVOR family is a Syrian family of four, a couple and their two daughters, who will be arriving in the fall of 2016. Note that BVOR (Blended Visa Office Referred) entails a blended funding of the refugee family from private and government sources.
Refugee Aid Canada - Refugee Sponsorship Group Members
Chair: Amin Amlani
Treasurer: Nilo Amlani
Co-treasurers: Susan Monaghan, Sameena Khan
Secretaries: Heidi Brault, Charles Gregoire
Website Developers: Heidi Brault, Charles Gregoire
Group Meeting Host: Sameena Khan
Other group members: Hassan Futainah, Samira Ayad Yedri, Olivia Nixon, Marc Blanchard
Former group member: Nazmu Mamdani
A few members of Refugee Aid Canada first met at a Refugee613 101 Workshop in Kanata on November 23, 2015. A few of us also attended a follow-up workshop on December 4, 2015.
Refugee Aid Canada meetings:
- December 7, 2015 (Inaugural meeting)
- December 14, 2015
- January 8, 2016 (Meeting with Donald Smith of the Anglican Diocese, our Sponsorship Agreement Holder)
- February 8, 2016
- February 22, 2016
- March 5, 2016
- April 4, 2016
- May 2, 2016
- June 1, 2016
- July 8, 2016
- August 5, 2016
- October 6, 2016
- October 11, 2016
- December 17, 2016
- December 30, 2016
- January 31, 2017
- March 29, 2017
- May 19, 2017
- June 29, 2017
- September 21, 2017
- December 21, 2017
A few members of the group have also attended additional information sessions hosted by the Anglican Diocese, United Way and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (Amin, Nilo, Susan, Charles and Heidi).
On March 8, 2016, Amin, Nilo, Charles and Heidi met with Ann Hustis and Nicholas Assad of Our Syrian Family Ottawa, who will be sponsoring three families. They were hoping to sponsor a fourth family, but as their resources are already being allocated to the sponsorship of three families they thought that it would be best to find another group to take on the sponsorship of the fourth family. Many thanks to Ebaa Al-Boiny of OCISO for bringing the two groups together!
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Refugee Aid Canada Members (L to R):
Back Row: Sameena Khan, Susan Monaghan, Olivia Nixon and Heidi Brault.
Middle Row: Amin Amlani, and Nilofar Amlani.
Front Row: Marc Blanchard, Charles Gregoire, and Hassan Futainah.
Absent: Nazmu Mamdani, Samira Ayad Yedri