This all began after I saw the disturbing photo of little Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey. That photo, featured on news media around the world brought attention to the seriousness of the situation – it was heart wrenching. My search for ways to do something led me to a meeting with Lifeline Syria here in Toronto, a non-profit agency set up to help sponsor groups, like ourselves, welcome and support Syrian refugees immigrating to Canada to resettle in the GTA over the next two years. From Lifeline Syria I met with others who were also reaching out. I met with the Chair of The Ripple Refugee Project Committee, Andrew Fitzgerald, and I attended several meetings with members of the Rosedale United Church Refugee Committee.
After meetings with Claude Hould, Chair of the Rosedale United Church Refugee Committee, I made the decision to work through them; they have been involved with the support and settlement of refugees for the past 15 years and have lots of experience. They have set up an umbrella organization to help individual groups make application and give support for bringing refugee families to Toronto. Our group, The Toronto Eglinton Rotary Resettlement Committee, is set up under the United Church umbrella.
Once I put out a call for help, I received support from Rotarian friends and other members in the Community who were anxious to work together to sponsor a refugee family. With their support, I formed a Committee and we are now on our way – our name is yet to be finalized but for the moment we are calling it The Toronto Eglinton Rotary Resettlement Committee.
There are key requirements for each group interested in submitting an application to sponsor a Syrian family. Before an application can be submitted to the government an effective team of 8-10 core members with diverse skills must be set up. They need to appoint a Chair and each member of that core team needs to submit an application for a Background Security Check; they need to attend an AURA Training Session; and $40,000 must be deposited into a committee specific United Church bank account – all donations over $10.00 are eligible for tax receipts.
At this point in our journey, the present settlement workers have all completed their background security checks; the AURA Training Session for those settlement workers will be completed this Saturday and we have raised $28,000. We still need to bring in another $12,000 and I would like to have a few more people able to help with the settlement work once our family arrives.