Syrian Refugee Sponsorship Project Update: The new family has arrived!

Our sponsored Syrian family, Souher, Raid and their four children (Mohanad, Leen, Mohammad and Sama), arrived safely on December 14, 2017 and settled in to their new apartment. They repeatedly asked the team to convey their heartfelt thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to bring them to Canada and to prepare such a warm and welcoming home! The family will be introduced to you during the January 14 service.

update-letter  donate

Dear Friends and Supporters,
What a difference you’ve made in the lives of the Syrian refugees that our church has sponsored! We could never have successfully sponsored three cases in the past two years without your generous help and donations.

And now we eagerly await the arrival of our next Syrian family! Souher & her husband Raid have four children, ages 3 to 16. They have been living in dangerous circumstances in Lebanon since fleeing from Syria. Souher and Raid are well-educated engineers and speak reasonably good English. Fairlawn began the process of sponsoring this family in April 2016. At long last, they have passed their medicals, interviews and security checks and have a travel date.
We are thrilled that the family will arrive here in mid-December.

A team of tireless volunteers is ready to help the family with all aspects of integration into a new society – including finding housing, health care, schools, shopping, banking, employment and more! As sponsors, the church is also responsible for 12 months’ financial support for the family. Fortunately, we have sufficient donations in our designated Refugee Fund to meet the very basic needs of this family of six. We know from past experience, however, that emergencies arise and we will have extra expenses, such as dental work, certain medical needs and prescription drugs, and some “extras” like swimming lessons or summer camp. In addition, we need funds to pay for the family’s travel loan, expected to be about $8,000.

To meet the new family’s needs and have enough for contingencies, donations to the Refugee Fund will be gratefully received!

Click here to donate online – Be sure to change the FUND to “Refugee Fund“

Or, Donate by Cheque:
Payable to Fairlawn Avenue United Church, marked “Refugee Fund”
and mail to: Fairlawn Refugee Fund, 28 Fairlawn Ave., Toronto ON M5M 1S7

Sponsorship has been an amazing and rewarding journey for Fairlawn. All members of the teams, plus many more people who have volunteered and gotten to know the newcomers, feel enriched by the experience and honoured to be part of it. We have been so blessed with all kinds of support and of course, none of this could have happened without financial donors like you.

You are part of a project that is saving lives! The congregation of Fairlawn Avenue United is very grateful for generous donations, large and small.
Thank you!

Kathleen Magladry,
Chair Refugee Sponsorship Teams,
Fairlawn Avenue United Church

P.S. We are so proud of our former newcomers. All have now completed their sponsorship year; the adults are employed and integrating well into Canadian society and the children are progressing very well in school.

Meet the 2015/2016 new Canadians!

   Read the 2016 update – update-letter

At the end of 2016, we celebrated one full year in Canada with Siham, Carmen, Jana and Judy! Siham is working as a Settlement Worker, helping other immigrants to settle in Canada.
Ousama, Carmen’s fiancé, arrived in Canada July 2016 to join the family! He is a dedicated team member with Fairlawn’s Refugee Sponsorship Team helping the next refugee family come to Canada.

Ronny completed his sponsorship period in February 2017. He is doing well and has employment in the construction business.


Why sponsor a Syrian Family?

  • Humanitarian crisis in Syria; tremendous need
  • Our Christian faith calls us to “love and serve others”
  • The Fairlawn Call urges us to embrace action to make a difference in the world
  • Fairlawn and its surrounding community have many resources to share
  • Fitting way to celebrate Fairlawn’s first hundred years
  • See also: Summary on the Refugee Info Pamphlet


Who did we sponsor?

We sponsored a Syrian family of four – a mother, older daughter and twin 8-year-old daughters. They fled to Lebanon after the father was killed by a sniper when he went out to buy bread, and they were refugees for approx. 3 years. The family arrived in Canada in December 2015.

Since then, we sponsored two more Syrian cases, Ousama and Ronny, and the fourth case, a family of six, is underway.

What are Fairlawn’s responsibilities?

  • Financial support for 12 months – rent, food, transportation, basic needs
  • Start-up support – find and furnish an apartment, meet at airport
  • Integration – help find a doctor, schools, language class, government services, interpreters, employment
  • Emotional support.


How much will it cost?

Thanks to generous support from far and near, we have sufficient funds to cover basic living costs for our current families.

Please extend your generosity to help support our next family: mom and dad (who are both engineers), three teenagers and a toddler.

We want to continue to grow the Refugee Fund to allow us greater flexibility in meeting the refugee family’s needs and emergencies if they arise. We invite you to contribute to this designated fund as generously as you are able. Donations are “tax-receiptable”.


Q & A

Questions & Answers about the Refugee Sponsorship Project
– Q and A from the AURA meeting with Alexandra Kotyk
– Dialog with Christopher & Alexandra Kotyk of AURA


In the news – Fairlawn’s Refugee Sponsorship Story


Feb 5 After a month in Canada – CBC Power and Politics interviewed Siham and Christopher on Friday, February 5. Advance the interview to Time 1:42 to skip the other stories on this link:

Jan 6 Welcoming the new Canadians! – Interview with Christopher and Siham on CBC Metro Morning


Dec 27 Safely Arrived – Siham’s story: Refugee family arrives in Toronto, 3 years after flight from Syria, CBC News

Dec 27 Welcome to Canada! – Fast forward to 6:00 minute mark for our story

Dec. 9 Radio interview update with Christopher and Siham on Matt Galloway’s Metro Morning CBC Radio program FM 99.1  Filled with hope.
Hear the podcast

Oct. 11 Radio interview from CBC 99.1 Metro Morning with host Matt Galloway
Hear the podcast >
Read the story >

View the September 22, 2015 Global News interview with Rev. Christopher White and Kathleen Magladry.Fairlawn continues to press the government to expedite the paperwork for this Syrian Refugee Family. Kathleen demonstrates the readiness of the congregation to provide a furnished new home and many services to help the family adjust to life in Canada.
Global News interview >

View the September 18, 2015 CBC interview on “Power and Politics” with Rev. Christopher White. Christopher describes the difficulty in getting this family to Canada, and the need for the government to expedite the process. The interview includes a video clip of the 8-year old twins learning to speak English from their mother.
CBC interview: Sponsoring Syrian Refugees >