Since 2011, many Syrians have lost everything, including hope to safely return to their country.
After a year in a refugee camp in south Turkey’s Kilis, the Greene family* — Mohamed, Fatima, Ahmed (9), and Hidayet (4) — tried to return to their village, but fled desperately again, from ISIS.
Hidayet was one month old. She spent the first two years of her life in a Turkish camp near Urfa.
“It was not the Turks that made it miserable, it was the heat. Because the camp was in the desert,” her dad explains, “We stayed under the mercy of the sun.”
Eventually Mohamed got a job speaking English and the family has been scraping by since. Doors to Europe, or another safe haven, remain closed (believe us, possibilities were pursued). Meanwhile, the status of Syrians in Turkey is increasingly unstable every passing day.
I’m Gareth Chantler. With a dedicated group in Toronto, we’re working to bring the Greene family to Canada. It would be great to have them!
We have a few possible paths to do this, each oblige us to raise $28,200, per the Canadian government’s requirements (the long form of those here).
We hope you join us. We will update our progress here and on Facebook.
The Greene’s application will likely be submitted through Community Matters Toronto, a community sponsor that has already supported the application of 35 Syrian families.
Stephen Watt, a volunteer with CMT, on our team, has already completed 25 successful applications for Syrian refugees in the past year. Tyler Longo, a talented Toronto-based Queen’s mathematics and economics graduate, is handling the funds raised. Salam Khorshid, a Syrian refugee herself and a settlement counsellor with WoodGreen Community Services, is our settlement plan advisor.
Join us on Facebook.
More about their story
*We’ve changed their last name for now.
This family's story, like that of many Syrians, is fraught with danger, loss, and exploitation. Their village has experienced nearly constant bombardment; children there can distinguish various deadly munitions by ear. Last year, Mohamed's eldest brother was kidnapped and killed by a militant group.
Seven members of Fatima's family, including five children and a pregnant woman, were killed, en route to a hospital, in a car bomb planted by government forces. Both Mohamed and Fatima suffer from PTSD, but are doing remarkably well under the circumstances. Starting with Mohamed's English, the family has an excellent chance of a successful transition to Canadian life.
The Canadian government loans Syrians the cost of their plane tickets and many sponsorship groups raise additional money to clear this debt. If additional funds beyond $28,200 are raised, we will do likewise.
There is a possibility that Mohamed's employer leaves Turkey before we can expect the family in Toronto. After clearing the cost of travel loans, additional funds will support them while they wait.
Should our application be refused by the Canadian government, or the case otherwise falls through, the balance of fundraising will be transferred to one of CMT, the Presbyterian Church of Canada, or the United Church of Canada, to resettle a deserving Syrian family.