May. 19, 2019

We have another opportunity to demonstrate Nanaimo's spirit

Last year our community pitched in to help a refugee family as they attempted to settle into our community, a mother, her three children and a nephew.

Integrating into a new lifestyle turned out to be more of a challenge than they could handleand they eventually relocated to Kitchener ON and appear to be doing well surrounded by more refugees of their culture.

The local group, spearheaded by Clyde Wicks, was able to assist with many things, and collected everything from clothing to groceries and accommodation. Since their move to Ontario, this support group has switched its attention to a couple of other families. There are still some funds in the account, thanks to everyone’s generosity. The group has provided grocery store gift cards for a family who is going through a particularly hard time right now. 

Patrick Maguire leads the group helping the new family and tells us their story. He says this is a Christian family from northern Iraq, near Mosul. They were given an ultimatum by ISIS to join Islam or die, so they left home by night and escaped into Turkey where they applied to emigrate to Canada. 

That process took four years, and they arrived here last July. They are a family of four – Mom and Dad and two young adult kids, a boy and a girl. They are settling in, learning English, and dealing with the challenges of fitting into a new community, looking for work, learning to drive here, and so on.

They had a serious setback earlier in the year when Mom was diagnosed with a brain tumour, for which she is now receiving treatment. They will reach the end of the sponsorship period in July, so will have a challenge to manage on social assistance and minimal earning capacity. 

They have good support in the community mainly through the Trinity Catholic and United community. Other donation will be a very welcome boost.   

You may have some suggestions as to accommodation, as they are paying $1,600 a month for a three-bedroom apartment and the original agreement runs out at the end of June. It may be more expensive when the lease is renewed, so we are looking for something more reasonable.

If there’s anything you can help with, contact Patrick at 250-816-5323.