Two local churches are joining forces to help a Syrian refugee family get to Canada.
Bracebridge United Church (BUC) and Knox Presbyterian Church are raising $60,000 to bring over and settle the Janbali family in Bracebridge.
Ardawan and Ghazwa Janbali are the aunt and uncle of the Khaled family which came to Bracebridge in 2017. They and their children Kanaan (17), Ahmad (15), Roula (14) and Emma (infant), are currently awaiting approval to emigrate to Canada.
“They are currently sheltering in Iraq, hoping to settle in our community close to the other family to whom they are related,” says Linda Ann Jewell, a member of the BUC/Knox Refugee Partnership Committee. “They have already been designated as refugees by the United Nations, and the necessary paperwork has been filed. Now we’re asking for the financial support of our community.”
Jewell says the Canadian government requires the funds to be raised in advance, to cover costs to settle and support the family over their first 12 months in the country.
“Eventually, the Janbalis will need help with housing, furnishings, jobs, and language skills, just to name a few basic requirements,” says Jewell. “However, at this particular time, the vital need is to raise the $60,000 minimum to start the process.”
Jewell says they’ve raised around $20,000 through donations alone, but the two churches have planned a number of fundraising events to raise the remaining two-thirds.
Knox Presbyterian Church is holding a scrap metal drive until November 19th, and BUC’s Annual Christmas Marketplace on November 20th will help raise money for the family.
The two churches are also selling chocolate bars and books from the Hadhad family, Syrian refugees who founded Peace by Chocolate after immigrating to Nova Scotia in 2016.
Although the Syrian refugee crisis is no longer front-of-mind for many people, Jewell says it hasn’t gotten any less important.
“There’s still people suffering around the world, and we’re so pleased the way Hassan and Berivan Khaled have settled here in Bracebridge, so when they requested help for their family, it brought it close to home again for us,” says Jewell. “It’s a small thing, helping one family, but that’s the way we have to do it.”
For more information, or to make a donation, visit the BUC/Knox Refugee Partnership website.