Much has happened since the last update. In May 2018 our first family arrived. We were able to welcome Tamar with her daughters and her brother Raffi. Thanks to the efforts and the help of our volunteers the family has settled in well. Both daughters started school already during summer break. Tamar has been visiting English classes and has improved her English tremendously. Raffi is working basically since July 2018.
Currently we are preparing the transition out of our sponsorship program into financial independence. Most likely we will continue to help the family with visits and advise for the months to come but our financial support will end with May 31st.
After waiting for more than three years, we recently received the good news that our second family has been granted security clearance. We expect Chiraz and his family as well as his mother to arrive some time in the summer. The arrival is delayed because the family has to renew their medical records which have expired in March 2019. After the medicals have been done, we are expecting to hear about a date of arrival – most likely around July.
Once we know more about the date of arrival, we will be able to give a detailed list of items needed.
Until then, we appreciate financial support. Though we have received generous donations in the past, we will need to top up our funds due to the high rents in Vancouver and surrounding cities. For donations please use our donation button on the bottom of the page or send a cheque to St. Mark’s church and earmark it for “St. Mark’s Refugee Project”.
Update September 2016
In the last week of August, we finally have received a case number, which tells us, that our sponsorship has been accepted. The family is currently awaiting the invitation to the initial interview.
We have now established direct contact with the family per email. The first contact also brought sad news. The grandfather of the family has passed away in August after a short time of illness.
Update July 2016
In the beginning of June the Refugee-Application of our family finally arrived from Lebanon. This gave us the opportunity to sign the sponsorship-application with the Canadian Refugee Agency as well. All papers were sent in in the beginning of June.
After the papers are filed and our sponsorship is accepted by the Canadian Immigration Office, we will receive a case number. Once the case number is issued, the family will be invited for an interview to the office in Beirut and all other procedures (Background Check, Medical Check etc.) will be performed. We have to be prepared that it will take 9-12 months until the family can arrive in Canada.
Update May 2016
In May 2016 the Armenian Orthodox Church in Richmond selected and presented to us a family to sponsor. Without any doubt we accepted the sponsorship of an extended family of six. The family will include a couple with two children (3 and 8 years old) and the parents of the father of the family. They all originally stem from the Greater Area of Aleppo and will move now into Lebanon. From there they will be able to apply as refugees with the Canadian Refugee Agency.
It became possible to accept the sponsorship of six people after we were blessed with a generous financial support from many different people.
Our original goal was to raise 25,000 dollars, in order to sponsor a family of four and participate in the Blended Refugee Sponsorship Program, offered by the government of Canada.
After getting aware of the needs and efforts of St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, Richmond BC, we have decided to become of a co-sponsor in their refugee-relief efforts. We are currently getting everything in place to sponsor a family of four with Armenian heritage. The Armenian community in Syria has been hit very hard by the conflicts due to the fact that they are an ethnic minority as well as a religious minority (Christian orthodox). We feel it is the right thing to do for us, to focus on helping people from a minority, that has been hit by wars and persecution many times throughout the last century.
Due to the changes in our sponsorship efforts, we also need to adjust our fundraising goal to 30,000$.
Please help us to help others.
For more information, please look up:
Canadian Lutheran World Relief: www.clwr.org
Government of Canada: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/
St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, Richmond BC: http://www.stgregorychurch.ca/
How to help
Support our cause by donating money. Only if we reach our goal, we will be able fully support a family for a whole year and help them settling in Canada.
If we exceed our goals: No money will be “wasted”! Either we might look into sponsoring another family or giving the money to an organization that is working to help Syrian Refugees.
Other ways to help:
Once the family arrives:
Help us to find
– affordable housing
– furniture in good condition
– and employment.
Or get involved by helping the family to arrive and settle in Vancouver: taking them to agencies and offices, helping with learning English, helping the children with school, introducing them to the community (pools, community center, library….), showing them around in the city and in recreation facilities, ….
Be creative and use your personal gifts and talents…
About The Organizers
The group consists of people from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Vancouver BC, a women’s group from the neighborhood of the church and people of the community who want to help refugees affected by the Syrian crisis.