Houston supports refugees

A group in Houston has emerged to help support Syrian refugees. The group began December 2015 and since has raised $35,000.

A group in Houston has emerged to help support Syrian refugees. The group began December 2015 and since has raised $35,000.

“We asked for donations, we also applied for a couple of grants, and received some from Dungate Community Forests, Bulkley Valley Credit Union, and other corporate sponsors. But we’ve had individuals donate up to $5000,” said Bobbie Seinen, a member of the group.

Through a Canadian resident from Syria, the group has been in contact with a woman and her two sons to help them make their way to Canada. Ramia, a single mother with her one year and four year old sons, recently tried to cross the border out of Syria into Lebanon but were turned back due to a scratch on her passport photo.

Ramia lost her husband last year when ISOL attacked their village. He went to the roof to see what was happening and was caught in the crossfire.

“There are obstacles for Ramia. Security is the biggest, because she is a single woman with two young boys. So moving from a town where she has some support is a high risk. Money to survive the waiting period, which could be anywhere from10 months to seven years now that the government’s quota has been met. And she might be reticent to register with theUnited Nations, which is a common problem,” said Seinen.

Due to Ramia’s hesitation with trying to cross the border again, the group has been exploring alternative options for the funds to be utilized in Syria.

“There’s $25 million across Canada that’s in trust right now from groups like ours. That’s the amount of money we have raised as Canadians, and these are not necessarily Canadians in urban centres. And [the people in Syria] need that money now,” said Sienen

The group has looked into the Blended Visa Office Referral, which fast tracks people with great medical needs, but feel that this would not be the best option, and difficult to support in rural Houston, as someone like this would require frequent trips to Prince George and Vancouver.

The group also tried to go through a family resettlement program. The government sends out an extensive list of people that includes where they live, who their extended family are, what their education is, etc., but there are presently no Syrian refugees living in Houston.

Sending supplies to refugee camps was another alternative, but rarely do the supplies make it there, and the group feels an obligation to their sponsors to ensure that they are getting the best use of their money.

Recently the United Nation’s Refugee Agency has launched a program called Transformation Initiative. An iris scan system that delivers cash into the hands of refugees at the ATM. Out of every $100 donated, $97 goes directly to the refugee families to help pay for rent, food, medical supplies, and whatever else their needs may be.

At this time, the group is waiting to hear back from Ramia on when she thinks she will be ready to try again to cross the border, and have informed her about the Transformation Initiative that she will have access to.

If you are interested in getting involved, the Houston group to Support Syrian Refugees meets every Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Nadina Community Features.

 

Just Posted

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Houston Community Hall holds an all Candidates meeting.

The all Candidates meeting happened on October third, ten candidates are running… Continue reading

Remembering Lejac residential school

Lejac residential school survivor walks in honour of survivors and in memory of those who did not

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

Harry and Meghan bring rain to drought-stricken Outback town

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day two of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Demand for legalized cannabis in early hours draws lineups, heavy web traffic

Government-run and privately operated sales portals went live at 12:01 a.m. local time across Canada, eliciting a wave of demand.

Killer-rapist Paul Bernardo set to make parole pitch today

Paul Bernardo, whose very name became synonymous with sadistic sexual perversion, is expected to plead for release on Wednesday.

Hero campaign raises $1.1 million for Canada non-profits

Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign was held throughout September

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Streamlined pardon process for pot possession convictions in Canada

Feds say legalization is first step towards objectives of getting pot out of the hands of kids and eliminating black market

Most Read