The News as of July 23, 2016
Good news at last!! The first two of three governmental hurdles in the refugee sponsorship effort have been bested. The application for sponsorship of Salman's brother and his wife and family has been approved in turn by the Quebec and Federal governments. To quote notes from our SRSC chairperson (Sheila Laursen):
"The Summerlea Refugee Support Coalition (SRSC) committee is delighted to report that the Syrian refugee family we had applied to sponsor has now been approved by both the provincial and federal governments. Action Réfugiés Montréal has informed us that this means that the file has now been transferred to Abu Dhabi for processing. The family members will be scheduled for medical and security checks, and once those are completed, they will be issued travel visas, airline tickets, and Canadian permanent resident status."
Exactly how long this last hurdle will take to accomplish is unknown but probably will take at least several weeks, assuming no unforeseen glitches.
Just before this news six members of the SRSC (see photo below) met with Salman Karnazi and his wife Bassma (apologies: we are only guessing at the spelling of 'Bassma') for a wonderful meal to start the process of assigning responsibilities. Salman is acting as cosponsor with the SRSC and will take on many of the "nitty-gritty" jobs thanks to his previous experience with resettlement. This will entail, among many other things, finding a suitable 5 1/2 room apartment in Ville St Laurent (where Salman and his family live), arranging for Medicare cards, finding a dentist and having a plan for medical emergencies, orienting his brother Balil and family to the community and local resources etcetera and acting as interpreter for the family whenever possible, finding schools, classe d'acceuil, daycare and language classes and probably a thousand other "little things" that will arise. It is no small task!
The SRSC and others in our three congregations will focus on helping to find suitable clothing for Canada (the winter will be a shock!) and furnishing the apartment for a family of four children and two adults (including beds for all). Start up costs such as school expenses, utilities hook ups, rent, etc. will be covered by SRSC on a sliding scale as, hopefully, the family begins to receive its own revenue. We will also be helping to stock and furnish the kitchen with help from Bassma. This is just a glimpse of some the details and tasks that need to be accomplished. Big job!