As we all make our way through this beautifully wintery February, we know a lot of people are invested in the Bay Refugee Project and are happy to share this update.
It has been a "hurry up and wait" month at the Bay Refugee Project! We have submitted the paperwork on the private sponsorship track to support two small families and are hoping to receive news of an arrival date in the near future. In the meantime, we continue to do community outreach and are currently working with ISANS (the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia) to explore ways that the Bay Refugee Project may be able to help with the recent arrival of many government-assisted refugee families in Nova Scotia. We are hopeful that we will have more to report very soon!
The original goal for the Bay Refugee Project was to raise funds to support one or two Syrian families to settle in our community. The Executive Committee of the Project is happy to report that their fundraising efforts have met with remarkable success thanks to all the private, community and business donations received by the group. In fact, as a result of this outpouring of generosity, we may be able to sponsor three families in our area.
See the list on our web site acknowledging the remarkable number of donors to the Project’s fundraising events.
In November, the Project reached its fundraising goal of sponsoring the first family, and began the process of submitting the application for sponsorship with our partner organization, the Catholic Diocese. In December, the group found a perfect home for rent in the Queensland area and outfitted it right down to a pantry filled with stock supplies, in case we received word that a family might arrive on short notice. We also launched a volunteer and donations database on line, which has been invaluable in helping to track the many resources available in our community.
After several weeks of anxiously waiting word about the application, the Project was approached by the Catholic Diocese to possibly consider a case which includes two small families who know each other and who currently live as refugees in Lebanon. They wish to be resettled in Canada, hopefully close to each other. Eager to help them, we have asked our partner to start the settlement process for these families.
Needless to say, the settlement process includes countless complicated steps, many of which are carried out under very challenging conditions in the refugee host country, so the members of the Project are trying to stay patient and positively focused, preparing for the day that the Syrian families arrive.
In the meantime, we continue to update the donation and volunteer database via the Get Involved page on our website.
From Jan Miller, the Chair of the Settlement Committee: “To all our contributors and volunteers, thank you again for your patience and support - we are constantly amazed by the willingness and eagerness of folks to pitch in, and we’re looking forward to working with everyone in the near future, to help welcome our new neighbors!”
Jan reminds us that we must expect ‘quiet’ periods in our activities, followed by ‘full steam ahead’, when our families are cleared for travel. Those who have offered as volunteers will be the first to know what needs to be done and how their offers might be put to action, as settlement details become more clear.