‘First Line for Syria’ opens its arms to refugees from war-torn country

December 9, 2015   ·   0 Comments

In October, three neighbouring families on the First Line of Mono came together with the “common mindset” that they could “do more than sit and watch the suffering as a result of the biggest refugee crisis our world has ever encountered.”

Together, they formed ‘First Line for Syria,’ a non-profit refugee sponsorship group determined to make a difference in the life of a Syrian family.

The group approached the little congregation at Primrose United Church and received their full support to lead the project under the umbrella of The United Church of Cana- da as the sponsorship agreement holder.

Currently, the group is looking at fundraising options and welcoming donations for the over $30,000 needed to support a family for a year. They have discovered others in the Headwaters region also sponsoring refugee families, including one group out of Westminster United Church in Orangeville.

“We have had a few opportunities to connect and network with such groups,” says Wally Barr. These relationships are important to foster, as we have a common goal and are all looking to quickly help refugees overseas that had to flee their war torn homes.”

Mr. Barr says an estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in March 2011.

“According to the International Organization for Migration, up to 3,072 people died or disappeared in 2014 in the Mediterranean while trying to migrate to Europe. It is a huge moral boost to have a government that is actually supportive, as opposed to obstructive.”

He said the new Liberal Immigration Minister, John McCallum, recently stated “that this was a national effort and groups like ours were expected to sponsor 10,000 refugees.”

He did not, however, explain the mechanism by which this is to be accomplished.

“In fact we are still waiting to be offered a specific family, but our application has been submitted, is now being processed, and we are waiting for news. To the government’s credit they have sped up the processing of refugees, but despite this, the biggest challenges seem, once again, to be bureaucratic.”

With the holidays fast approaching, Mr. Barr remarked, “It seems to be a time when people reflect on how fortunate they feel and in turn are more aware of the struggles people around the world face and are perhaps interested in supporting causes such as ours.The current refugee crisis has the attention of the world. While it is a huge problem for nations to tackle, we as individuals in small town Canada, can easily contribute to a solution for at least one refugee family.”

A meeting will be held for those interested in assisting ‘First Line for Syria,’ on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity United Church, 200 Owen Sound Street, Shelburne. Residents can also follow the progress of the group on Facebook at ‘First Line for Syria’.

Donations can be made to Primrose United Church (tag to Refugee Fund) at Pace Credit Union, or an email transfer can be made to Cheques can be sent to Adelle Barr Klouman at 715513 First Line EHS, Mono L9V 1A9.

Those who would like to help in any way may call Wally or Karin at 519-925-9930. Tax receipts will be issued by Primrose United Church.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.