We have wonderful news: we have identified the family that we will sponsor. Omar, Salwa and their seven children fled Syria for Jordan in 2012 after their town was levelled by airstrikes. They lost everything, but in Jordan the authorities do not permit them to work. Their situation is dire.
Omar, Salwa, and the three older children speak some English. They know about Quebec and Canada, and really want to come here. They know they will need to learn French and are ready to do this. The children (3 girls and 4 boys) are 3½ to 19.
This will be a real adventure for all of us, helping this family to integrate into Montreal society. With the wonderful outpouring of volunteers and contributions, we know we are up to the job.
Once we have an approximate date for the family's arrival, we'll need to form small teams to support them in the following areas:
- Housing (affordable rent, easy access to schools, public transportation, etc.)
- Clothing, furniture and other household goods - Locating interpreters - Education (getting the children into appropriate schools)
- Language learning (helping them learn French, enrolling adults in French classes)
- Health (navigating the RAMQ, finding doctors and dentists)
- Employment (Omar was a decorative interior painter and taught Taekwondo)
- Personal finance (understanding financial life here in Montreal, budgeting with limited resources, adapting to our costs, social programs, taxes, etc.)
- General orientation (banking, transportation, grocery shopping, etc.)
You don't have to volunteer for a specific area. We will certainly need people who can help out when needed. Also, there will be an obligatory 3-part program of cultural sensitivity training for everyone who wants to have direct contact with the family. The first part is scheduled for Saturday, February 20th (read the details in the Monthly Events section on page 11).
Meanwhile, please let us know your first and second choice of area to work in by sending a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, everyone, for your enthusiasm and support!
Refugee Task Force