After 17 months of waiting, the Aldarwish family have received approval to immigrate to Canada as refugees from Syria. Their arrival date is March 6. Read on below for their full story and ways you can help.
In 2016, one of our families at Renew Milton introduced us to long-time friends of theirs: Same & Lottie Aldarwish and their two young children. Sam is originally from Syria, but had the good fortune of leaving for the Netherlands many years ago, and recently immigrated to Canada where he has taken a job in carpentry. Sadly, he had to leave his loved ones behind in Syria all those years ago, until now…
While Sam was making plans to move to Canada, his mother, brother, and his brother’s wife and two young children (ages 8 and 11) remained in Syria. By 2012, the situation had escalated and the remaining five family members realized they were no longer safe in their war-torn home country. The threat was twofold:
- As Christians they are targeted by the Syrian opposition, at risk of being shot on sight, no questions asked.
- The government offers protection for Christians, but the family’s origins trace back to a city near two well-known strongholds of the opposition’s militia. Although the family has long since relocated, their place of origin still appears on their identification causing a red flag at the frequent military checkpoints that they must travel through. They have been threatened at gunpoint by the army numerous times, and only spared once they are able to convince the military personnel that they are Christian.
Over the course of three years, the family survived numerous close-calls having been threatened at gunpoint, receiving accusations from the opposing militia, being detained and beaten, targeted by snipers and watching their friends killed in front of their very eyes. Eventually, they secluded themselves in their home in fear until they were able to flee the country. They now wait in hiding, confined to a two-block radius, hopeful of being granted refugee status to Canada where they can finally be reunited with the rest of their family.
In 2016, Renew Milton began the application process as a sponsoring group to allow the family a fresh start in Canada. We have been waiting hopefully and prayerfully since September 2016, and at long last the Aldarwish family have been approved and received a travel date of March 6, 2018. In the meantime, we have been working to raise the necessary funds for the family’s settlement.
How the Funds Will Be Used
As a sponsoring group, Renew Church is responsible for supporting the refugee family during their first year of settlement or until they find stable employment (whichever comes first). Citizenship & Immigration Canada recommends a base amount of $29,700 to support a family of five for one year. The funds raised here will go towards:
- flights and travel to Canada
- housing (rent and utilities)
- purchase of furnishings and household items
- living expenses such as food, clothing
- English as a Second Language (ESL) training
We have received a tremendous response and enthusiastic support from our church community, their family and friends – we have nearly reached our goal! The refugee family is overwhelmed by the generous help they have been receiving from total strangers in a far-off country. Your support has given them a hope they did not have. We are extremely grateful to everyone who gives no matter how big or how small. Your contributions will completely change the lives of this family who have lived in fear for so long; it will give them back the lives and childhoods that they have been denied.
Support our refugee family
There are two ways you can donate to our sponsored family:
Donate through Renew Church:
Use our online form or deposit your donation in our Sunday offering. Please indicate on your cheque or online donation that this is for “Renew Milton Syria Sponsorship”
Donate through our GoFundMe campaign
Not only can you make donations through our GoFundMe account, but it’s also an easy way to share with your friends and family. Please help spread the word by sharing our GoFundMe link: