Syrian Refugee Group of Fort St. James: continues to take steps for sponsorship

The Syrian Refugee Group of Fort St. James is continuing to move forward towards sponsorship.

  • Wed Feb 8th, 2017 2:00pm
  • News

Barbara Latkowski

Caledonia Courier

The Syrian Refugee Group of Fort St. James is continuing to move forward towards sponsorship.

The dedicated group, despite all odds, is looking for answers.

The system is bottlenecked according to the group.

“Our goal has been and continues to be to sponsor two families,” said, Louise Evans-Salt, a member of the group.

“But, the Liberal Government has since pulled out of processing refugees as was once promised.”

There are currently 26,000 applications from families in Lebanon, Syria and Turkey who are waiting for sponsorship.

“We are concerned about this government and the current refugee crisis,” Evans-Salt said.

The sponsorship process is currently being run through the Central Mennonite Committee who has been providing continued support to the group in Fort St. James regarding sponsorship and all that is involved.

But MCC is not receiving lists of families in need of sponsorship from the Government.

“Our goal now is to focus our time writing letters of concern to the Prime Minister, our MP and Minister of Immigration,” Evans-Salt said.

The Central Mennonite Committee remains dedicated to the group in Fort St. James and when refugees do become available, it will be a lottery based on the overall fit for the community.

The idea of private sponsorship is also being considered by the group.

The Syrian Refugee Group is thankful for all of the community support received so far and everyone who has donated funds will be given a taxable receipt for 2016 from MCC.

“This is still very much a crisis,” Evans-Salt said.

“People from these countries have been displaced but nothing is moving forward. We will continue to look for answers from our government.”

Important facts:

–          As of July 15, about 7 million refugees have been displaced.

–          About 52 per cent of Syrian refugees are under the age of 18.

–          Many Syrians are Palestinian refugees as well.

–          Majority of children living outside of Syria are not attending school.

The next meeting will take place at the Fort St. James Public Library on Feb. 22, at 7 pm.

All are welcome.

The Caledonia Courier continues to be a strong supporter of the Syrian Refugee Group of Fort St. James.