January 17, 2019

Dear Donor,

It has been quite a while since we have been in touch to inform you about how your generous donations have been used to support Syrian refugees in Victoria. In our last correspondence, we shared that financial support of the Al Sultan family had ended after one year of sponsorship and that the family was continuing to adapt to life in Canada with a variety of successes and challenges. Members of the faith communities of Oak Bay United Church and the Il Iman Mosque remain in touch offering friendship and support.

Over two years ago we applied, through the government’s Family Reunification Program, to sponsor another family. We formed a relationship with a family in Victoria whose relatives had escaped Syria and were living in Turkey. The process to bring the six member Haboush family to Canada was complex and took considerable advocacy on the part of the Refugee Committee and MP Murray Rankin.

On October 18th of the past year the Haboush family landed at the Victoria airport weary but looking forward to a life of peace and security. Since that momentous day the family has settled into their new home. The two eldest children have been registered in school while the youngest two are attending childcare as their parents are in ESL programs. Mohammed and Alyaa, the parents, have been eager to learn and enjoy practising English. They have a deep curiosity about our country and are profoundly grateful to those that have given them and their children this opportunity.

The Thrift Shops at St. Aidan’s United Church and Oak Bay United Church have generously donated clothing, furniture, bedding and many other household supplies. We have purchased or repaired bikes for the members of the family and they are enjoying exploring their neighbourhood and riding to school.

The Steering Committee continues to work with the children’s school and with volunteers to ensure that the family has as many opportunities as possible for a successful transition to our Canadian culture.

Your donations have not only provided transportation to Canada. You have given the Haboushes a home and opportunities for employment, education and future free of war and poverty. Of course there are no adequate words for what you have done so we will simply say thank you.

Sincerely,

Gaye Sharpe
Victoria Refugee Initiative