We are thrilled to share with the community that the seven member Syrian refugee family we began to raise funds for to sponsor back at the 2015 High Holy Days have now arrived safely in Toronto. A small welcome team met them at the airport on Monday evening, March 20th, and, after a few hours of processing, they were greeted by their family member Ala, who is the “anchor” person bringing them over along with many other branches of his family.
Currently, we cannot share their names in print, but mom and dad and all five kids, ranging in age from nineteen months to twelve years, were blinking in the fluorescent lights as their family members and a bunch of well-meaning strangers were smiling, waving, and (in Ala’s case) hugging them on their arrival.
Everyone was very happy to see the family had arrived, but they were understandably quite exhausted from the extended trip from northern Iraq. Below is a photo of our translator Eiman Nabag and welcome team member Sheri Cohen waiting for the big arrival. When we arrived at the temporary housing being provided by a family in Scarborough (via the volunteer organization We Host Refugees), the parents got a tour of the home but were focused on trying to get the kids to bed. Over the next few days, the Chair of our Social Justice Committee, Sharron Kusiar, brought in an extra fridge for the family, and Project Lead Kathy Glazier, along with Welcome Committee member Wendy Gross, took the parents to get their SIN cards and apply for OHIP. It is wonderful that the children’s grandparents, also recently arrived, were able to stay with them during this time, while the kids happily played with puzzles and toys brought by our group. And Tuesday evening was the Kurdish New Year — a special celebration time to mark their arrival!
The journey has begun on Canadian soil for this family of newcomers. And we all say, “Welcome!” FYI, the Arabic sign welcomes the family by name.
The Danforth Jewish Circle Social Justice Committee.
Welcome Committee members at the airport that evening were: Sheri Cohen, Kathy Glazier, Wendy Gross, Sharron Kusiar, Karen Robbins, and Ellen Waxman.