November 2017 Refugee Update

Hello from Safehaven: Refugee Sponsorship Group. You are probably wondering, what have these people been up to, what’s happening with the Syrian Family of 7, and why is it taking so long? These are all good questions and we will do our best to answer them.

We are still waiting for the family to have their meeting with the Canadian Embassy in Turkey for clearance to Canada. They are officially registered with the U.N. as refugees and have been waiting for over 2 years in Turkey where they are not allowed to work. They have survived by other family members support in the Middle East and Canada, but that is starting to wane as they too are experiencing financial hardship.

The delay comes because of the reduction in staffing for refugees in various offices. There is a Refugee group from Victoria that filed 8 months ahead of us, and they have not heard an arrival date yet either. Usually, you only get 6 weeks notice of arrival so there is not much time to react and you have to have all your plans in place. We do.

     We are starting to send funds overseas to the family (500.00 a month) for the next 6 months on a trial basis. The laws in Canada, enforced by Canada Revenue, are such that we cannot send funds overseas that have been issued a tax receipt for income tax purposes. The Government takes this position because of fears for funding of militant groups or money laundering. This means that even though we have raised sufficient funds for the families first year here (with a buffer for emergencies) we cannot send funds overseas from this account and we must start separate fundraising, non-tax receipted, and deposited in a separate standalone account.

For this reason, we are once again soliciting support for this family. You can make your donations through any number of Comox Valley churches including, Comox United, Comox Valley Presbyterian, Living Hope Christian Fellowship, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran and St. George’s United. Cheques can be made payable to Safehaven: Overseas Syrian Relief Fund. We regret that any donations received will not be supported by a tax receipt under these circumstances as explained. We also plan to do other fundraising events in the new year which we will announce as they unfold.

To remind everyone, this Syrian family consists of a young widowed mother with 4 children under 15, and her parents, grandparents to the 4 children.

We have been overwhelmed by the financial and spiritual support we have received from the generous Comox Valley. We are committed to saving and supporting this family and all 18 of us in Safehaven thank you for your consideration.

Gary Stevenson on Behalf of Safehaven