Welcome to the Route 333 Refugee Sponsorship Association

December 15, 2016

It’s hard to believe almost a year has passed since the community came together to form Route 333 Refugee Sponsorship Association.

A lot has happened since then. We are steps closer to welcoming a Syrian refugee family to Canada. Recently we learned that the family we are sponsoring cleared the Canadian government’s security checks and are now waiting to have an interview with visa officials. Our hope is that they will arrive in Halifax sometime in early 2017.

We have been in contact with the family via social media and they are anxious to come to Halifax. The family of three - a widowed mother and her two daughters, ages 21 and 23- are Christians, and like many of us, will soon be celebrating Christmas.

They are currently living in Lebanon. While they are safer there than if they had remained in Syria, they remain fearful. Their lives are on hold. They have no legal status, and have little more than one suitcase each of personal belongings. They have been through the horrors of war. Amidst the fighting in north-east Syria, the family lived in constant fear. Explosives almost hit their apartment and there was an attempted kidnapping of the daughters by Islamic State fighters. The family fled to the Syrian city of Aleppo and were eventually smuggled to Lebanon in the back of a truck.

One of the daughters studied English literature at university, but was forced to quit when war broke out. Her hope is to return to school in Canada and complete her degree. She speaks some English. The other daughter is a skilled seamstress. They are eager to start new lives in Canada.

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone in the community who helped us raise $20,000 to help support this family during their first year in Canada. Special thanks to several local businesses, the Prospect Peninsula Residents’ Association, the Prospect Players, New Life Community Church, the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and PEI, Atlantic Memorial Terence Bay, Brookside Junior High, Prospect Road Elementary and Halifax West schools. And to everyone else who gave whatever they could to help.

We are now working in partnership with the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth and the Halef family, the owners of Halifax Exhibition Centre, to sponsor the family through the federal government’s private refugee sponsorship program.

Thank you from all of us at Route 333 Refugee Sponsorship Association. Together we are making a world of difference for one family.

If you want to get in touch, please send us an email at: route333refugee@gmail.com or visit our website, www.route333refugee.com. We are also on Facebook.

Happy holidays and best wishes for a peaceful 2017.

Allison Lawlor

Chair of Route 333 Refugee Sponsorship Association

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