The Syrian Refugee Committee of Mississippi Mills – January 15, 2016 Update
[This is a bi-weekly update from the SRCMM, exclusive to the Millstone, which will feature a report from one of the 4 sponsorship groups in Mississippi Mills.]
Such exciting times for Mississippi Mills! This week the Holy Name of Mary Group welcomed the first Syrian family to our community. The Jarous family arrived on January 15, 2016 and is now being helped to settle in to their new home. In addition, we’re celebrating the success of our ABC Welcome Group (below) in securing a family for sponsorship. As you may know, the demand for sponsored families has far outweighed the numbers available to Canadian sponsors. The Syrian Refugee Committee of Mississippi Mills (SRCMM) stands by to support each of our four groups, on behalf of the larger community. As Chair of the SRCMM, I am very privileged and humbled to be working with some of the finest, kindly people in our community: these are people within our four groups, as well as residents of the wider community, who continue to dedicate time, effort and resources to reinforce the idea that Mississippi Mills is a caring, safe and welcoming destination for those who have become victims of the ravages of war. We hope that the community will support the Civitans’ Valentine’s Eve Dinner at Dance on February 13 as a show of solidarity for our community’s refugee settlement efforts.
With gratitude and hope.
Arnie Francis, Chair, Syrian Refugee Committee of Mississippi Mills (SRCMM)
ABC Welcome Group
ABC Welcome Group is made up of unaffiliated residents working with the Almonte Presbyterian Church. We have a core membership of around 12-15 people, as well as an extended network of supporters and donors. Our group has been quite successful in raising funds thanks to the generosity of the congregation and other supporters in the community, and this effort continues.
We are excited to have just learned that we will be sponsoring a Syrian family of four, including father, mother, girl 5, and boy 3. They are on the government’s BVOR (Blended Visa Office-Referred) list, which means they have been cleared by the government and there will be some financial assistance during the first year. Hopefully they will arrive in the community within the next few weeks.
We have also begun the application process for another Syrian couple, both professionals in their late 20’s who have fled to Turkey. This couple will be privately sponsored by our group, which means that they won’t be eligible for the same financial assistance as the BVOR groups. If successful, they would likely arrive in 4 to 6 months.
So, our group’s priorities for the next few weeks will be completion of all necessary paperwork (there is a lot!), and detailed settlement planning, which includes lining up accommodation, furniture and household goods, as well as a variety of services such as translation for the family, who only speak Arabic. Fortunately there has been a great outpouring of support from the community, and we are grateful for all of the assistance and resources that have been offered.
Our group contact is Greg Smith: email@example.com
Next biweekly update from Holy Name of Mary Group.