I am reaching out with a request for assistance with resettlement activities for Yazidi families who are finally arriving in Canada. Below are two links about the plight of the Yazidis including an article with information on Canada’s most recent actions.
- Plight of the Yazidis – AURORA PRIZE
- Canada to give asylum to 1,200 primarily Yazidi refugees by end of 2017 – THE GLOBE AND MAIL
In addition to helping families from Syria resettle in Canada, we have also been focused on trying to assist Yazidi families. Last summer, we raised sufficient funds to form two “Groups of Five” and sponsor two Yazidi family units: a family of five currently in Turkey and a single woman who was in Lebanon. With the assistance of Lifeline Syria, we completed and submitted our paperwork late last summer to the government. In December, the single woman was able to leave Lebanon and is now in Germany where she plans to stay. Thus, we are working once again with Lifeline Syria to support another Yazidi woman who is currently in Iraq. There have been tremendous difficulties in obtaining the information that is required for the Canadian forms, but we continue to persist.
Early in 2017, we received an ID number for the family of five. However, I was very disappointed to find out from my MP’s office last week that our paperwork has not yet been processed and that the government is still working on assessing the individuals making up Groups of Five that were submitted late 2015. Thus, it could still be many months, and possibly more than a year, until our family can leave Turkey.
On Saturday morning, I awoke to an email about six new Yazidi families, comprising 20 people, who have recently arrived under government sponsorship program. Within the next month or so, another 26 people will be arriving. There is much help required for these new families. While they will be supported by government funding, they do not have nearly the resettlement support that privately sponsored refugees do.
The biggest challenge they face at the moment is finding housing. Although the government gives them money (which is sufficient for the large families with children but not enough for families of two), landlords are often reluctant to rent to newcomers and large families. Thus, one of the first requests is if anyone has contacts that might be able to help find housing. Richmond Hill is the preferred location so that the community can be physically close to each other, which is critical during their first year in Canada. (We have seen the importance of this repeatedly with the extended Syrian family we have been helping resettle since last September.)
We also need people to help with healthcare. As we learned with our first families, there are many health issues including dental, vision, and hearing. We will need contacts with health care professionals and volunteers willing to drive and help them through these first appointments and follow-up care.
Once they have homes, they will need furniture, clothing, household goods, etc. Shortly thereafter, they will need volunteers to help introduce them to their new country and culture.
Specifically, we are seeking:
- People with contacts for housing
- People willing to act as a guarantor to help facilitate securing a rental agreement
- People with furniture, clothing, and household goods to donate
- People who have trucks or access to trucks and the ability to help us move things
- Volunteers to join “Resettlement Groups” including a leader of each group. We want to form up to eight groups with five to eight people in each group.
Please contact me as soon as possible if you are able to assist. Please also forward this post to as many people as you know who may be interested in assisting. This is truly a community-wide effort with members of many synagogues working together to welcome the newcomers.