Refugee Working Group

Ascension has an active refugee working group that supports various refugee families in Ottawa, and is working to sponsor other families in the future. In February, 2016, Ascension welcomed a young Syrian family of four. Thanks to Ascension’s financial support, and the sponsoring group’s moral support, the Ahmad, Maha and their children are thriving in Canada. The official financial support to the family ended after the first 12 months, but the strong friendships and bonds remain as we continue to support the family in their integration into life in Canada.

As part of its work with the Syrian family, the refugee working group met and worked closely with a young Somali woman named Arafa who acted as translator for the Syrian family for many months. Arafa’s brother and his young family fled Somalia to Djibouti for their safety. The refugee working group has submitted a request to the government to sponsor this Somali family of five. As of April 2017, more than $15,000 has been raised. Another $10,000, plus furnishings, are needed. If the application is approved, the family is expected to arrive in Canada in about three to four years.
Another related group is considering sponsoring a young Syrian man, the brother of Maha. About $10,000 is needed to help sponsor this young man, who is currently living in Lebanon and who cannot return to Syria, as his life in danger there.

The refugee working group also helps other refugee families in need, by connecting them with donated furniture, housewares and clothing, and providing them with moral support by attending appointments and even refugee hearings with them. For example, the group has been supporting a family from Djibouti and their six daughters, aged 2 to 12, by finding them clothing and other goods.

The Anglican diocese of Ottawa has been a huge support and resource for the refugee working group. The diocese offers support to refugee groups like ours thanks to the diocesan Refugee Ministry. The diocese has launched a fundraising campaign to help support this ministry – and others – through its Today 4 Tomorrow campaign.

To get the latest news on our progress, follow the Refugee Working Group on our Facebook page. For some background, read the Refugee_Working_Group_Parish_Letter.


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