Our Refugee Sponsorship Project - reflections and looking forward
Since the arrival of the Alyousef family in December 2016, St. Peter’s Refugee Sponsorship Committee has been active in supporting their settlement. During this time the family have developed their English language skills and settled into daily routines and life in the Sudbury community. As with any significant project or journey, there have been periods of great excitement, joy and jubilation, and also brief periods of fatigue and frustration. During this journey we have observed the coming together of our St. Peter’s community, the St. Mark’s congregation, and our Sudbury community who have supported this committee in fulfilling the obligations of sponsorship. We are grateful to the many people who have given of their time, talents and treasures to provide a home to these strangers whom we now call family.
Although our one year commitment has been fulfilled, the St. Peter’s Refugee Sponsorship Committee continues to be active in an informal way, providing ongoing support to the Alyousef family, and in a formal manner while supporting re-unification of the Alyousef’s other son. Upon his arrival, we will continue to meet the formal sponsorship agreement for him, for a one year period. An application was made for this family re-unification early in 2017. Although he has met all criteria it is unknown as to when his admission to Canada will occur. The Alyousefs are no longer our “project”, but they are our extended family and so we share in their successes and struggles and have concern for their future. Members of the sponsorship committee and supporters continue to provide ongoing support, encouragement and friendship.
Through this sponsorship we have been blessed by a multitude of memories which remind us of the incredible gifts we have been given and the importance of sharing these gifts with others. Our lives have been enriched by our friendship with the Alyousefs as they have welcomed us to share in their daily lives and in their cultural and religious celebrations.
Gillian Schell and Kevin Reed, co-chairpersons,
St. Peter's Refugee Sponsorship Committee.
First winter in Sudbury