By Stephen Wise
Saturday, September 5, 2015 10:00 am ·  1 Comment
This week a horrifying picture made headlines around the world of a Syrian child dead on a beach trying to escape the turmoil of his country for a better life. The civil war in Syria is probably the worst humanitarian disaster right now and it has been going on since 2011. It is estimated that over 220,000 have been killed, more than half civilians. Horrific human rights violations are widespread, basic necessities like food and water are sparse. The UN predicts there could be over 4 million Syrian refugees by the end of 2015.
We are not standing idly by the CSRDN – Canadians in Support of Refugees in Dire Need, Maplegrove United Church and Shaarei-Beth El synagogue have already been working together for 6 months to sponsor a family of 7 and resettle them here in the area. We began the process back in April and have already received notice that Immigration Canada has approved the first step.
Lailah and LuJain are the niece and cousin to the refugee family and have worked diligently to be in contact with their family in Syria to ensure all the necessary immigration information is correct. While this process generally takes over a year, we are hoping the Government of Canada will take special notice of the crisis and move more speedily to approve these refugees so they can come to our peaceful shores as soon as possible.
“This is a complicated process. It is not just about fundraising the money” said Sandra Onufryk the Chair of the Outreach Committee at Maple Grove United Church, “There are many jobs and responsibilities because we want to not only provide for the family financially for one year but to help them to establish themselves in Canada”.
The partnership between the church, synagogue and a muslim action committee – is the first of its kind in Canada – and members are busily preparing for their arrival by finding proper accommodations, collecting furnishings, food and clothing and pursuing potential employment. We know this is an immense task, but we cannot stand by and do nothing, all three faiths know that it is our obligation to help the needy, one family at a time.
Dr Aliya Khan Chair of CSRDN said ” all people have the right to basic human needs of food , shelter and safety – we need to bring the children and their families from the horrific conditions in the refugee camps and expedite their arrival to Canada.”
Financial donations to help this family can be made by sending a cheque to the CSRDN in Mississauga, the Shaarei- Beth El Synagogue on Morrison Road, Oakville or Maple Grove United Church, on Maple Grove Road in Oakville. Please indicate Support of Syrian Refugee Family on the cheque.
There will be a rally at 8 pm next Wednesday evening (sept. 9) at the Town Square in Downtown Oakville.
We are inviting the concerned citizens of Oakville to peacefully demonstrate their concern that the processing time for Syrian refugees is too long and that the government should increase the number of refugees allowed.