September Safehaven Refugee Update

Safehaven Refugee Sponsorship Group is an officially sponsored outreach of St. George’s and 5 other local church’s and their congregations. It has been quite some time since we have updated you about our progress with the Syrian family of 7 we are sponsoring.

For those who are new or missed the last address in the spring, Safehaven formed almost 3 years ago and almost 2 years ago we signed the papers and filed them with the gov’t for this preapproved family. Yes, that’s correct, almost 2 years ago in December.

It’s fine for us to wait….but what about this family with 4 children? Why so long to wait? Well, in all honesty, the situation is complex in Turkey. Here’s some details

This Syrian family fled the civil war over 3 years ago. They lived close to Aleppo and fled north across the border into neighbouring Turkey. There are now….ready for this… 3.5 million Syrians sheltering in Turkey and the situation is dire. By comparison….there are 4.7 million people in all of BC. Syrians in Turkey are not “legally” allowed to work or to travel more than a short distance. To travel, they must obtain travel documents as this family had to do, when they travelled a very long distance to the Canadian Embassy for their medical exams and document completion. Also, complicating matters is the currency crisis in Turkey where the Turkish lire has devalued by 40% since this spring.

Another complication is that the Canadian Embassy in Ankara Turkey is overwhelmed. A refugee group in the Comox Valley waited 2 years to the day for a pre-approved sponsored family from Turkey to arrive, so we feel we are getting very, very close to our arrival date.

Since last November, we have been sending this family 500.00 per month, to help them survive. We have now run out of funds and are sending out an appeal to the 6 congregations who are involved, and to the general public. We would like to continue with this humanitarian relief until this family is here, so, if you have a heart for the refugee crisis and in particular this Syrian family, please donate. We do not wish you to divert funds from your regular church givings, but if you want to skip that latte you regularly buy and donate 5, 10, 20.00 or more, we and this sponsored family would be forever grateful. As mentioned before, we are unable to issue tax receipts for these particular funds as Canada Revenue does not allow it for funds that leave the country. Cheques can be made out to Syrian Overseas Relief Fund. We thank you for your consideration on this and are grateful to all of you for the amazing support and encouragement we have received.

If you have any further questions, please contact me at garycstevenson@msn.com.

Gary Stevenson
on Behalf of Safehaven