― Avijeet Das
A Request for donations and volunteers
Two families in need
In 2014 we began the process to sponsor a refugee family from Syria. In November 2016 they arrived in Ottawa, and the family of five began their life in Canada. They have successfully learned our language, found jobs and the three children have done very well in our school system. They are a blessing to us all.
St Bartholomew’s was able to raise over $40,000 for that family through the generosity of our members
We are now asking you to consider supporting two more families. We hope you will read the accounts prepared by a member of each family. One family is Syrian and has sought refuge in a Middle Eastern country. The other family is from South Sudan and is now living in a refugee camp in East Africa.
This family is related to our Syrian family that arrived in 2016. Roula is the mother of our first family and she is speaking about her cousin’s family. Click here to read her account.
I am from Syria. My name is Roula. Three and one-half years ago St Bartholomew’s church-sponsored my family’s refugee application and brought us to Canada. My husband, our children, and I fled from Syria and the miserable life that came with war. St Bartholomew's gave us a better life. It supported us financially and morally. We thank all members of St Bartholomew’s for giving us a better life. We deeply appreciate the support that was given and I hope you all stay safe.
I need to speak to you now about my cousin who is my best friend. I am asking for your help to support my cousin and her family. They are currently in the Middle East. They left Syria almost 2 years ago due to the war, just like my family and I did. Like my family, she and her family are Christian. Terrorists targetted the family. They threatened them with violence and harm. Terrorists forced my cousin to wear a hijab. My cousin and her husband lost their jobs. Their house was burned down, leaving the family with no shelter.
Their lives aren’t any better at this moment. They are suffering, with poor life and no help. After 2 years, my cousin finally found a job but she must work 10 hours a day and for all that is paid only $10. The children are not allowed into the local schools. They stay home and do a little. They learn nothing. I am asking for your help to support this family, to bring them to Canada, so they can begin a new and better life and so the children can attend school again, starting a better future.
Thank you so much for your understanding and support.
Roula’s extended family have already collected $29,000 to support her cousin. From our experience, we know that it will take, at a minimum, an additional $22,000 (which includes some contingency money) to assist this family to settle in Ottawa.
The Refugee Team for this family is chaired by Rosemary MacDonald and supported by volunteers from the parish of St. Bartholomew’s. Members of Roula’s family will be actively engaged in helping their relatives resettle in Ottawa.
South Sudanese Family
Rose is a member of St Bart’s. Her sister and family of five children have been in a refugee camp in East Africa since 2014. .
My name is Rose. I hope you are all safe and doing well in this difficult time. I was born and raised in South Sudan, my brothers and sisters as well. My family and I joined St. Bartholomew’s church in 2008 and I am so proud to be a member of this church. All my children were baptized at St Bartholomew’s Church.
My sister and her family lived in South Sudan until Dec. 2013 when tribal war broke out between the government and opposition forces. During an attack two members of my family were murdered. My sister’s husband was taken by soldiers and we all thought he had been killed as well. My family fled and scattered. Until now I have not heard from any of them except my sister who is in a refugee camp in a neighbouring country..
After many months my sister and her husband were reunited and briefly lived together in a refugee camp before he disappeared again without explanation. My sister is now the single mom of four children and is also taking care of my niece whose father was murdered. Her life is very hard.
In these regions of Africa women are not respected, not treated well, and are abused in many ways. In the camp there are a lot of difficulties. A woman and children alone in a camp without a male are at great risk. Life in a small tent with a family of 6 for more than 6 years is very, very hard. I visited my sister last year and have seen the situation. She is always filled with fear and worried that the same thing that happened to her husband may happen to her and her children.
My husband and I have been supporting my sister from time to time. But sending support is very, very difficult. We have to find someone who is going to that part of Africa, give him the money and have him take it to her in the refugee camp. I figured out that my help is not enough to change my sister’s situation or the children’s future. Therefore, I decided to come forward and ask my church for help. My family has pulled together $10,000 and we will provide a 7-seater vehicle to help the family since it’s large. My friends and co-workers have made it clear that they cannot or will not be able to help with any money because they have some difficulties with financial things but they are very willing to help my sister when she arrives in Canada. Also I have two to three of the volunteers who will help with translations when needed.
Thank you all for listening to me. I hope you will help my sister.
Rose’s family will require $52,000 (including some funds for contingency) to resettle. Her family and friends have already collected $10,000 and St Bart’s has received pledges for $6,000. So, we are trying to raise a further $36,000
The refugee team for this family is co-chaired by Jake Harding and Stephen Randall with a group of volunteers from St. Bartholomew’s. Rose’s family and friends will be also be fully involved in helping the family to settle once it arrives.
Further amounts needed:
Syrian Family: $22,000
South Sudanese Family: $36,000
How to Donate
The easiest way is by cheque, made out to:
St Bartholomew’s Refugee Account
125 MacKay St,
Ottawa, ON K1M 2B4
Use the Canada Helps Button below - specifying "Refugee Sponsorship"
For more information email us at email@example.com or call: 613-745-7834
All donations will receive a tax receipt. (Refunding between 40-44% of the donation)
Frequently Asked Questions
Q How long will it be for the families to arrive in Canada?
A For the Syrian family, the formal application has been accepted in principle by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. The family could arrive in less than a year but it will likely be longer. Understandably, there are many unknowns during the pandemic.
For the second family in East Africa, the application is in process. It is probably at least two years away from arrival.
Q Are you able to designate contributions to one family or the other.
A No, St Bart’s is undertaking to help both families so any donations go into one fund.
Q What if for any reason a family is not able to come to Canada. What happens to the money collected?
A This happened once before at St Bart’s. A family was denied access to Canada. We then, with the approval of parish council, used the funds for different refugee situations, both in our parish and by helping other churches with their refugee programs.
Q Why can’t families who want to sponsor a family do it themselves without church involvement?
A private sponsorship in Canada must be done through a “Sponsorship Agreement Holder”. There aren’t many in Canada and the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa is one of them. It is our diocese which is making the application and it trusts that St Bart’s will raise the funds, engage volunteers and provide an appropriate level of support.
Over the past five years our Diocese of Ottawa leads the country in per capita refugee sponsorships - something of which we can be proud.
— Dina Nayeri