Zareen Muzaffar is a young journalist with a passion for story-telling. She has become both a partner and an inspiration on the #WelcomeHomeTO project. She's working on a really cool story-compilation project that I know you're going to love!
Here are some tips she has for those looking to welcome Syrian Refugees as new Canadians but not sure where to start:
Wish to help the Syrian refugees?
According to the latest article in Toronto Star, Syrian refugees will begin arriving in Canada by mid-December. The federal government said this week that Canada could welcome as many as 50,000 refugees by the end of 2016, including those who are being privately sponsored.
What can we, as Canadian citizens, do to make the transition easy for the Syrian refugees? What’s required at this time is a better dialogue between the government and settlements agencies. WelcomeHomeTO aims to promote and maintain a culture of openness where the newcomers feel welcome.
Those who wish to assist in helping Syrian refugees can contribute in different ways. Here are some ways you can help make the transition smoother for the refugees arriving in different parts of Canada.
LifeLine Syria: This community engagement initiative plans to actively participate in Canada’s commitment to resettle Syrian refugees. They aim to help recruit, train and assist sponsoring groups over the next two years to welcome and support refugee families during their first year in the GTA. LifeLine Syria also plans to work with the Syrian community in the GTA to ensure that they help shape and participate in this initiative. For more information visit their website or read their plan of action here.
GTA Refugee Assistance Hub: This group was created to help people find/supply donations of clothes, household goods and other immediate needs and required services for Syrian refugee families arriving in Toronto. All members are welcome to post requests/offers for items, questions, offers of time/skills, etc.
In-Kind Donation Collection: Located right by the subway station (Dundas West), this center has 21 Certified Information and Referral Specialists and five Arabic speaking staff members. They hope to receive winter clothing, bedding, kitchen ware, computers among a range of other necessities. For more information, visit their page here.
The Clothing Drive: What started out as a post on Facebook quickly turned into a national campaign for donations. The Clothing Drive collects clothes, organizes them and delivers the packages to the incoming Syrian families. They describe their inititave as, “This drive is a "Room for More" initiative on behalf of several sponsorship groups. The mandate is simple: collect clothes and only clothes for the soon to arrive Syrian Refugees.While the immediate need is for winter clothing and outerwear - we will accept clothing for all seasons”. Join their group on Facebook here.
Save a Family from Syria: The First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto has partnered with the Muslim Association of Canada(MAC) and specifically their Masjid Toronto to work together to bring families to Toronto and settle them into a new life here in Canada. Volunteers can sign up on the website. You can also read stories on their webpage here.