WHY WE ARE DOING THIS
We are a group of individuals who were moved by the images of the tremendous challenges facing Syrian refugees and decided to take action. Some of us have stories of refugee experiences in our families, some of us are parents, and all of us are motivated by a deeply Canadian value: refugees welcome. Read our personal stories of what brought us together. Come back as we update this page with new stories.
Jennifer McGregor and Daniel Ebanks:
The day the photo of Alan Kurdi made the news, both of us were shaken terribly. Our little boy is the same age as Alan, his brother, who also drowned, is the same age as our daughter. It hit us both that it is only by luck that we are here in Canada and not there, struggling to get our children to a safe place. We are the same, a parent’s love for their children extends across all borders. It was a call to action for us, and we have been working hard since early September to do everything we can to help another family provide a safe home for their children.
Barb and Richard Keshen:
The images being shown in the news moved us to get involved in sponsoring a Syrian family. What also prompted to us to take direct practical action was remembering that we were the children of immigrants – Barb is a first generation Canadian and Richard is a second generation Canadian. Our relatives came to this country and re-built their lives so we could have the opportunities we have been given, therefore it seems fitting that we assist other newcomers to Canada. As well, it was encouraging to be reminded that Canada and individual Canadians have done this before with the Vietnamese boat people and now it is our turn to step up and demonstrate the same compassionate action.
My mother was born in Belgium, the only child to Jewish parents, before the outbreak of World War 2. Because it was unsafe to be Jewish at the time, she and other children were taken in by another family and raised as Catholic. She was the only one to evade capture from the Nazis in that household. My mother is gone now but I often recall how she said that so few were willing to help. “People did nothing,” she would say. This is the reason my family and I want to help bring a Syrian family to safety, simply to do something.
Unsure that I have an interesting or unique story. I am just terribly distressed that so many people have been forced from their homes, their jobs, their families, their country and must take refuge in a strange land with a foreign language and climate. Starting over again from scratch with nothing is a terribly hard thing to do, even more so if everything around you is strange, and ever more so if you have had to flee the trauma of war. Despite the fact that my life is upside down at the moment since my partner of 32 years died, and despite the fact that I am still grieving heavily, I am grateful to live in a peaceful land, and have my friends and family. I feel compelled to share my good fortune and help at least one family in a concrete way.