Syr­ian refugee fam­ily of six des­tined for Grates Cove

Co-spon­sors need gen­tly used cloth­ing for par­ents, four

The Compass - - Sports - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

I hope that this is just a good new be­gin­ning for this fam­ily.

— Court­ney How­ell

It won’t be much longer now be­fore peo­ple in Grates Cove wel­come a fam­ily of Syr­ian refugees.

More than a year af­ter the wheels were set in mo­tion to have a fam­ily of Syr­ian refugees spon­sored to live in the Trin­ity South com­mu­nity, sup­port­ers fi­nally have con­crete news about the fam­ily. The As­so­ci­a­tion for New Cana­di­ans in­formed the co-spon­sor­ing group a few weeks ago that the fam­ily in­cludes two par­ents and four boys aged four, six, 12 and 13 years.

“I’m ex­cited,” said Court­ney How­ell, a Grates Cove res­i­dent in­volved with the group. “I hope that this is just a good new be­gin­ning for this fam­ily.”

Through a fed­eral gov­ern­ment pro­gram, over 41,000 Syr­i­ans have fled the war-torn coun­try and come to Canada. As of the be­gin­ning of this month, the Of­fice of the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees iden­ti­fied over five mil­lion reg­is­tered Syr­ian refugees. A third of those refugees are chil­dren age 11 or un­der.

Ac­cord­ing to How­ell, the wait pe­riod for ar­rival from the point of of­fi­cial ap­proval ranges from four to 12 weeks. This means the fam­ily could ar­rive any­where from late Au­gust to right around Canada Day.

The group ceased fundrais­ing ef­forts some time ago, but will now jump­start that cam­paign with hopes of rais­ing an ad­di­tional $3,000 on top of the $10,000 al­ready raised. This money will help the fam­ily make it through their first year in Canada.

Ac­com­mo­da­tions and fur­ni­ture are for the most part looked af­ter. Rooms and beds for the par­ents and two older boys are al­ready in place, but the third bed­room in the fam­ily’s home is smaller than the oth­ers, ac­cord­ing to How­ell, so the group is on the look­out for a trun­dle bed — a de­sign fea­ture wherein a hid­den bed can roll out from un­der­neath an­other bed for evening use.

Then there’s the cloth­ing. How­ell said these fam­i­lies typ­i­cally ar­rive with very lit­tle in terms of their own pos­ses­sions, and they’re gen­er­ally com­ing from a warmer cli­mate than what coastal New­found­land has to of­fer. The group is look­ing for gen­tly used cloth­ing.

“Any­thing from light longsleeved shirts to light jack­ets, even if peo­ple have win­ter clothes and boots that they would like to do­nate, that would be won­der­ful,” said How­ell. “And the kids will be go­ing to school. Part of the ini­tial ex­pense will be to get school sup­plies for them.”

How­ell reached out to peo­ple on so­cial me­dia and is al­ready hear­ing from friends and neigh­bours who in­tend to look through clothes their chil­dren may have out­grown.

“Peo­ple are start­ing to re­spond, and of course they want to know the sizes, and we don’t know yet,” she said. “So I think once we meet the peo­ple, peo­ple will do­nate even more.”

How­ell an­tic­i­pates there will be a wel­com­ing cel­e­bra­tion in the com­mu­nity shortly af­ter the fam­ily’s ar­rival where peo­ple can come and say hello to Grates Cove’s new­est res­i­dents.

The co-spon­sor­ing group in­cludes res­i­dents from Grates Cove, Carbonear and Western Bay.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Peo­ple from the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion area will soon wel­come a fam­ily of six dis­placed from their home­land due to the Syr­ian war. A co-spon­sor­ing group raised funds to sup­port a fam­ily flee­ing the war-torn coun­try. Pic­tured, from the left, are Rob and Deb Har­ley and Ter­rence, Court­ney and seven-year-old Phoenix How­ell, who are among the peo­ple in­volved in spon­sor­ing the fam­ily.

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