Refugee Sponsorship Subcommittee members as well as many others have given much support and friendship to the Alkreiz family from the heavily bombed eastern portion of Aleppo, Syria. This family consisting of the father, Majed, mother Rehab, son Omar (13) and daughter Sham (2) arrived on 13 January 2016. All have progressed very well as reported in the Fall issue of The Link and are adjusting well to life in New Brunswick. At the church service on 15 January 2017, Majed Alkreiz expressed sincere thanks in an address to the the congregation presented in English and clearly demonstrating a language proficiency that is remarkable considering that he knew only a few words on arrival.
By 31 December 2016, all the family dental work had been completed, testing of income potential from a food stall at the Fredericton Cultural Centre had been discontinued due to low margins, son Omar had been registered for the spring 2017 George Street School Grade 8 class trip, a move had been made to a new apartment, an RESP had been set up for Omar and Sham, Majed had been employed continuously as a carpenter with Tony George since September, and, a 2010 car had been purchased from D & L Motors on advice of owner ”Mitch”/Majid Dable, who with wife Houda, has selflessly given translation and other assistance, including translation at a welcoming potluck in the Saint Andrew’s church hall in February 2016.
The Refugee Sponsorship Fund had $14,126 at the beginning of 2016 and received donations of $6,919 during 2016, for a total of $21,045. Expenses were $17,913 in 2016 and $2,954 for arrival preparations in 2015, leaving a balance of $3,132 at 2016 year end. In January 2017, this balance was reduced by a final monthly payment of $1,667. A $2,524 portion of dental costs was additional to the other expenses and came primarily from the Estate of Jean Anderson, with approximately one fifth donated by the congregation.
An English-as-another-language (EAL) program for Syrian wives and small children was started in December 2016 by Amir Alavi, Sarah Alston and several other UNB students. They approached Peggy MacIntosh for permission to use the kitchen and hall. Session approved use on Sunday afternoons. Attendance ranges from 6 to 20. A Christmas dinner was prepared and served in the hall to some 50 members of Syrian families.
We are thankful to all who supported these endeavours through prayer, donations, and encouragement.
For Further Reading
The Canadian Council of Churches, November 26, 2015 (PDF)
From the Moderator: Meeting Refugees
The Presbyterian Record, November 1, 2015 (off-site link)
5 Reasons Why Canada Shouldn’t Fear Accepting Syrian Refugees
The Huffington Post, November 20, 2015 (off-site link)