Pictured above: The "It Takes a Village" team welcoming the second sponsored Syrian family at the Vancouver International Airport in August 2017.   

"My husband  and I were studying at Al-Furat University in eastern Syria when the civil war began. We lost many of our friends when ISIS took control of parts of Hasaka Province. We were about to graduate, but had to flee to a refugee camp in northern Iraq in order to avoid my husband being threatened and recruited by different military groups."  -Amal 

The "It Takes a Village" Team were thrilled to welcome sisters Amal and Salma and each of their young families to Vancouver, BC in March and August 2017 to begin their new lives as Canadians.  

Salma, her husband and three young children have now been here for more than a year. Both parents are working - Salma's husband as a construction worker and Salma as a seamstress - and are taking English classes. Their oldest child eagerly started kindergarten last fall and his English is coming along quickly.   

Amal, her husband and two young boys arrived last August. Both parents are still in English classes and Amal's husband is applying to Simon Fraser University to complete his Masters in Physics while working part-time.  

With the generous support of our friends and neighbours, we raised more than $70,000 to provide for both families' living expenses during their first year in Canada. Both families still have brothers, sisters and friends in refugee camps in Northern Iraq, however, and we would gratefully accept additional donations to enable us to sponsor more families. (The cost to sponsor a family ranges from $25,000 - $40,000, depending on the size of family.) 

Our Story
We are a group of concerned Lions Bay, BC residents who wanted to have a meaningful impact on the lives of families affected by the global refugee crisis. 

With the support of the BC Settlement Agency MOSAIC, we connected with some long-time Syrian Canadians in Metro Vancouver in 2015 who were desperate to find ways to bring relatives impacted by the war to Canada. We formed a "Group of Five" to sponsor Amal and Salma's families under Canada's private refugee sponsorship program. After more than a year of patient waiting, we were thrilled to welcome these families to Canada in 2017. 

All donations received on this site were used to directly support each refugee families' living expenses during their first year in Canada, including monthly apartment rental, food, clothing and transportation expenses (approximately $36,000 per family.) The goal of the sponsorship program is to support each family to become independent within one year of arrival.  We are so pleased to say that both families have been able to meet this goal and are well on their way to establishing themselves in their new lives here. 

Please reach out to us if you might be interested in helping us sponsor additional families. 

Many thanks! 

Group Members: Alison Dudley, Nicola Dudley, Noelene Searle-Valleau, Meighan Jury, Kelly Taylor, Ami McKay, Ruth Simons, Ali Gerlach, John & Rose Dudley  

Contact: Alison Dudley alison_eric@shaw.ca 

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