Remember May 4, 2016? Parishioners from St. Christopher's, St. Francis and St. Stephen's gathered at Vancouver International Airport to welcome two Syrian mums and their 4 children to Vancouver. Furniture and household goods were ready to move into the two rental apartments. Many parishioners stepped in to help move and get the sisters settled. Others organized schooling for the children, helped the sisters open bank accounts, got translations of necessary documents, found physicians, dentists. Countless other people helped them get settled. Fast forward to November, 2017 and where are they now?
One mum’s children are in Grade 7 and Grade 12 while she has been working as a Draftsperson at a downtown engineering firm. She is learning the local engineering codes as fast as possible and is putting in a lot of additional hours to make her Syrian training and experience align with Canadian regulations.
The second mum has recently moved to the valley, as rents in town were more than she could afford after our one years’ sponsorship ended. Now she is nearer her brother’s family, and her mother helps care for the two little ones, one of whom is now fluently bilingual. Next year, both will be in pre-school, enabling their mum to attend more work preparation courses.
Immigration papers have been filed with Immigration Canada for the mums’s husbands who have now fled to Turkey and are therefore eligible for refugee status. Immigration Canada has sent the completed papers on to Ankara so now, we just wait! Both sisters continue to be grateful that they have come to Canada and are especially grateful to our three churches for all our help and friendship. And every night one young Syrian mum says to her little ones when she tucks them into bed. “You are safe now. You're in Canada.”