IRR Update – July 2020
When our two sponsored families arrived at the airport on the evening of Jan 30th the committee’s immediate concerns were; who would be allowed to leave their home country? would all six individuals arrive safely? and where to find winter boots for everyone plus a baby car seat.
Although concerns about the corona virus had emerged in several countries, no one could have forecast that in six short weeks Canada would go into a major lockdown. And how extremely fortunate that within that short six week period both families would be accommodated in their own apartments, completely furnished through the generosity of our congregations and the community. That the families would be registered for health care, family benefits, assessed by doctors, registered with the Food Pantry & Welcoming Arms, receive library cards and bank accounts, attend Welcome Table dinners & Rise & Shine breakfasts. And that Marven would get a job and thus bring in some income to help with his family’s expenses. And that Sandybelle would be registered at Aurora High School and begin to attend classes, still with no winter boots.
And then everything shut down. The committee was no longer able to enjoy visits with the families – and so we switched to Zoom. Sandybelle could no longer attend school – she continued to work online, achieving a 90% average in her subjects. Noah learned to walk – we saw videos. The Welcome Centre where the families were registered for ESL assessment & classes closed its doors – the families studied and took their assessments on line.
Although the current restrictions have made socializing more difficult in all our lives the IRR committee is in close touch with both families. We are currently helping them to establish goals for their future lives. Danielle, who is fluent in English, is anxious to continue her university studies and is looking for work in order to finance that goal. Sandybelle will continue at Aurora High School and hopes to graduate next year. Their mom, Haana is an experienced seamstress and baker and Imane continues to care for her son Noah, a charming & active eighteen month old, while Marven is at work. They are all practicing their English skills and are extremely grateful to be in Canada and close to relatives who immigrated here many years ago.
The committee is working hard to help these families get established and, potentially, to be self-sufficient and contributing members of the community. Just as the pandemic has curtailed many plans, our fundraising goals are difficult to meet at this time and we are trying to stretch our budget, originally planned to sponsor one family, to cover two. Our immediate financial concerns include much needed dental work and rising living expenses. However the families continue to be grateful for all that we can do.
Helping these six individuals adjust to a new country, and supporting them through these unusual times brings a great deal of fulfillment and pleasure to the committee members and we look forward to seeing them continue to work toward their goals over the next seven months.
IRR COMMITTEE MEMBERS: George Easey (chair), Irene & John Clement, David Pilkey, Joyce Hagarty, Helen & Ivor Roberts, Jane Taylor (AUC); Barb Allan (Trinity), Jane Lennox, Susan Shaw, Mae Khamissa
AUC IRR Members:
George Easey (chair), Rev. Andy Comar, Irene & John Clement, Joyce Hagarty, David Pilkey, Ivor & Helen Roberts and Jane Taylor,