It takes a whole community to welcome a family, and the Nanaimo Refugee Sponsorship Group said thanks for the effort.
The group sponsored Ashraf, Hala and Abdullah Auqab, a Palestinian family which spent the last six years in the El Hol refugee camp in Syria.
On Oct. 2, the family was officially welcomed to Nanaimo with a dinner at St. Andrew’s United Church. The event was also a thank-you to all the people in the community who made this sponsorship possible.
Special recognition was given to children and young people who initiated creative fundraising ideas.
Ashraf Auqab spoke on behalf of wife and son, thanking the people for not only for bringing them to Nanaimo, but for providing a warm and generous welcome.
As Nanaimo awaits the arrival of its second sponsored family, other Island communities have been inspired to sponsor.
Churches in Cedar, Ladysmith and Chemainus eight churches are working with their communities to bring another family of three to Vancouver Island.
Comox and Courtney plan to sponsor a family of five and discussions are underway in Victoria to initiate a sponsorship. Three Anglican churches in Victoria had already sponsored three families more than a year ago.
“People involved in the sponsorship recognize that Nanaimo has its own important issues around poverty and homelessness which need to be addressed by all citizens,” said Eva Manly of the refugee sponsorship group. “At the same time we want to thank everyone who shares in our small contribution to a massive world problem.”