Taste of Syria

The Daily Courier - - WESTSIDE WEEKLY - By BARB AGUIAR

En­joy an evening of Syr­ian food, mu­sic and cul­ture while help­ing to bring a young Syr­ian widow and her six chil­dren to West Kelowna at a Taste of Syria on Sept. 29 at Em­manuel Church.

The Em­manuel Refugee Care Col­lec­tive, a group from Em­manuel church, is rais­ing money to spon­sor Na­jah, a Syr­ian widow, and her six chil­dren. The pri­vate group is re­spon­si­ble for rais­ing enough money to com­pletely sup­port the fam­ily for their first year in Canada. Jan­ice De­wald, who spear­headed the spon­sor­ship, es­ti­mates that would take about $ 50,000 in the Okana­gan.

Na­jah’s hus­band was killed when their apart­ment in Syria was bombed. The fam­ily had been liv­ing in a refugee camp in Jor­dan, but when the camp be­came too danger­ous for the teenaged daugh­ters, the fam­ily moved to live in one room in Jor­dan.

Na­jah is the sis­ter of Sa­har Al Breij, who came to West Kelowna with her hus­band and four chil­dren in Jan­uary 2016 af­ter be­ing spon­sored by a pri­vate group. The group’s spon­sor­ship of Na­jah and her chil­dren will not only bring them to safety, but also re­unite fam­ily.

“If they have fam­ily here, they’re go­ing to do bet­ter,” said De­wald.

The evening be­gins at 6:30 p.m. with food tast­ings. Guests can move from sta­tion to sta­tion sam­pling authen­tic Syr­ian food pre­pared by two Syr­ian refugee fam­i­lies from the Okana­gan who have started food busi­nesses.

Mar­griet Ru­urs, a B.C. chil­dren’s au­thor who re­cently pub­lished a story about the Syr­ian Refugee cri­sis will be the speaker. Ru­urs’ book, Step­ping Stones - A Refugee Fam­ily’s Jour­ney, tells the story of a fam­ily who sets out to walk to free­dom in Europe with what they can carry on their backs af­ter they were forced to flee their once-peace­ful vil­lage. The book’s re­mark­able art work is from Syr­ian Nizar Ali Badr. All pro­ceeds from the book go to­ward Syr­ian refugee re­set­tle­ment.

The evening will also in­clude an op­por­tu­nity to hear from the West Kelowna’s rst Syr­ian refugee fam­ily about their ex­pe­ri­ence ad­just­ing to in­de­pen­dence in Canada as well as en­joy a mu­sic per­for­mance on a gui­tar- type in­stru­ment by a Kelowna Syr­ian refugee.

The ap­pli­ca­tion to bring Na­jah and her chil­dren to West Kelowna has been ap­proved so it’s a wait­ing game for the process on the Jor­da­nian end with med­i­cals, se­cu­rity checks and in­ter­views. For De­wald, work­ing to bring Na­jah and her chil­dren to West Kelowna is her re­sponse to the over­whelm­ing feel­ing of help­less­ness trig­gered by the Syr­ian cri­sis. “If I can save one fam­ily, I will,” she said. Tick­ets for A Taste of Syria cost $25 each and are avail­able by call­ing the church of ce at 250768- 7638, on­line at em­manuelchurch.life or at Eventbrite.com at A Taste of Syria. Em­manuel Church is lo­cated at 2600 Her­bert Rd.

If you are un­able to at­tend A Taste of Syria but would like to do­nate, you can drop a cheque by Em­manuel Church, do­nate dig­i­tally by tex­ting the word give to 778-764-1105 and fol­low­ing the prompts or click­ing the Giv­ing link on the Em­manuelchurch.life web­site. Char­i­ta­ble re­ceipts can be is­sued for do­na­tions.

BARB AGUIAR/ West­side Weekly

West Kelowna’s first Syr­ian refugee fam­ily will be joined by Sa­har’s sis­ter and chil­dren as the Em­manuel Refugee Care Col­lec­tive is rais­ing money to spon­sor the widow and her six chil­dren through events such as a Taste of Syria Sept. 29 at Em­manuel Church.

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