Toronto Friends Sponsoring Refugees
Our group started as Toronto Friends for Syrian Refugees (TFSR) in the summer of 2015. In 2016 TFSR started the process of sponsoring two different Syrian families through Ryerson Lifeline Syria.
In early 2016 we undertook the sponsorship of two young Syrian brothers, Abdul and Obada, living in precarious circumstances in Malaysia. Lifeline Syria had identified them as a critical case, in part because Obada was only 16 and without status in the country. Luckily, we have their older brother Moe and his wife Karla working with us in Toronto. Not only are they a delightful young couple who have gone through the refugee and immigration process themselves, but they are in constant contact with Abdul and Obada.
On October 31, Abdul and Obada attended an interview with Canadian officials in Kuala Lumpur where they feel their case was heard sympathetically. They are now awaiting their medical certificates, the last step before coming to Canada. Upon arrival in Canada, they will need to learn English and Obada will be back in school after a break of almost three years. Moe and Karla will provide much of the initial personal support, but the committee is financially responsible for their welfare for the first year in Canada. We look forward to meeting the brothers, becoming friends, and assisting them in their transition to a new life here.
In the summer of 2016 we undertook a new Syrian family for sponsorship. The family has been separated by the war. Hasan, a car mechanic, is in Lebanon. His wife, Sabah, is in Syria with their 2 year old daughter Raghad, and newborn son Ibrahim. Sabah is unable to reunite with Hasan in Lebanon because the border has been tightened. Lifeline Syria has assured us that when Canada has accepted them as refugees, Sabah, Raghad and Ibrahim will be able to cross into Lebanon, and then to Canada. The family has no family or friends in Canada, and so this sponsorship will require a lot of personal support from TFSR members.
Moe (the Canadian brother of our first sponsorship, Abdul and Obada) has been a tremendous help in being able to speak directly to Hasan in Arabic and we are trying to offer as much help as we can from afar. We also have the aid of a student volunteer from Ryerson, Amneh, who helps with translation and Arabic lessons for one of our members.
In the autumn of 2016 we asked the Toronto Monthly Meeting to allow Toronto Friends Sponsoring Refugees (still TFSR) to become a permanent committee within the meeting, and to be able to issue charitable receipts through the meeting. We are pleased to say that this motion was accepted and our committee will continue to sponsor refugees, now from anywhere in the world. This means we will need to raise funds as we take on more sponsorships.
How can you help?
TFSR welcomes everyone to our meetings. Please contact us if you have questions or would like to be involved. We also welcome donations, which can be mailed or made online.
• Cheques can be made out to “Toronto Monthly Meeting” with “Toronto Friends Sponsoring Refugees” in the memo-line.
• To contribute online via CanadaHelps, please
visit: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/toronto-monthly-meeting-of-the-religious-society-of-friends-quakers/ and apply your donation to “Toronto Friends Sponsoring Refugees” from the "Apply your Donation to a Specific Fund" pull-down menu.