Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Program
The Syrian Civil War has produced the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War. United Neighbours is a grassroots community group that came together in the fall of 2015 in response to this crisis. With the support of St. Matthew’s United Church, the Regal Heights Residents Organization and key volunteers from other parts of the GTA (including some whom are former refugees themselves), we worked to raise well over $50,000 to sponsor two Syrian refugee families to come to Toronto.
In the spring of 2016, we were matched with the Alaalyan family, a Syrian family of seven, including two parents and children ranging in age from 11 months to 12. They were refugees, living in Lebanon. They arrived in Toronto in December 2016, and our support helped them find housing, get the children established in school, learn English and find an apprenticeship program for their father. He now works as a brick layer.
In January 2020, United Neighbours sponsored a second Alaalyan Syrian family with six children and two parents. COVID-19 made their adjustment a little less smooth, as schools were closed and English lessons difficult to arrange. This presented many challenges for our sponsorship group, including setting up online schooling.
The first Syrian family we sponsored are cousins and they have helped with the transition. The second family recently completed their first year in Canada and tell us they are happy to be here.
We are thankful for everyone who supported us in this effort, financially and with gifts in kind. We thank God we were able to bring the family here before the pandemic, so they are less at risk of illness. We are grateful for the opportunity to get to know these wonderful families and see them build new lives in Canada.
If you would like to make a donation, click the link below to be taken to our online Canada Helps donation page: