CEE Refugee Family Project Update

CEE is Bringing a Second Syrian Refugee Family to Safety in Victoria.
This family of six, with four children ages seven and under, are UNHCR-registered Syrian refugees currently living in Southeast Asia, where they have been for several years. Conditions for the refugees there are not great as you can imagine. Their UNHCR registration allows them to apply to live in Canada and with CEE’s support the sponsorship committee are applying on their behalf.

As a result of the efforts of our refugee sponsorship committee the family is also included in Victoria’s Inter-Cultural Association (ICA) quota for immigrant status for refugees. This means they can be part of the 2022 Canadian government quota of sponsored refugee families. They will be the second family that Congregation Emanu-El has supported in this way.

We need to raise another $30,000 by October 31, to meet the minimum costs for government sponsorship, which are based on family size. This amount must be deposited prior to final approval of the sponsorship application. We have had a generous offer of $5000 in matching funds for incoming donations. We are looking for other donors willing to add to a pool of matching funds.

We have a team who are working with the family to complete their immigration paperwork. Our committee includes a number of shul members (including a couple of members of the previous CEE sponsorship committee) and others from the wider Jewish community. We have already raised over $21,000 and want to thank all of you who have already generously donated to help us reach our goal of bringing them to Victoria. This includes money that was used to pay for the birth of their youngest child who was born late last year. He had some significant medical problems at birth and these have fortunately mostly resolved.

Before they left Syria the family were in significant danger due to the civil war there. Their car was blown up and their apartment building was shelled. Fortunately both parents have professional backgrounds, so we are confident they will manage to establish themselves successfully in Canada when they finally arrive. The mom is a teacher so has been focussing on helping the older children get some education as best she can. The dad is currently doing odd jobs to try to keep the family afloat financially.

The alternative of returning to Syria would be extremely dangerous for them, especially since the father had been personally targeted before he left. This sense of having your family being at grave risk is very familiar to many of us whose families left Europe in similar circumstances going back several generations.

Many refugee families have already successfully been through this process with the help of local faith communities and other groups. We cannot wait to meet this courageous young family, as they exit the airport at Victoria International in about three years time. We welcome all those interested in this project to join us in our efforts.

As committee chair this feels like an opportunity for me to pass on the help and support my then thirteen-year-old father, my grandparents and my aunt Ruth received, in order to leave Nazi Germany and arrive safely in London to start their new lives. Without that crucial assistance, my brothers, cousins and I would most likely never have been born.

In addition to donations, we are also looking for volunteers who would be willing to join the team working on fundraising activities. We will be organizing some concerts and an auction in the coming months with other fundraising plans to come. We will eventually also be providing the practical help the family will need with resettlement, on their arrival in Victoria. We will be most grateful for any help you can give to enable this family to arrive safety in Canada.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to the CEE Refugee Family Project through the donation button at here, by phoning the synagogue office at 250-382-0615 or by mail to: Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard St., Victoria BC V8W 2J3.

Please ensure “Refugee Family T82” is in the memo line of any cheque you write.
If there are funds left over at the end of this process, they will be used to help other refugees in keeping with ICA’s rules.
Please email us at CEE.Refugee@gmail.com with any questions or offers to help.

Summary of event details

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An inclusive, warm, and progressive Conservative synagogue in Victoria, B.C.

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