The Lacombe Community Refugee Effort is aiming to sponsor another Syrian family.
After helping to bring over the Al Omar family in 2016, they’ve set their sights on reuniting them with family members that were left behind, including Naeema Al Omar’s sister, Khadija, and her two children.
“What we didn’t realize is that Naeema’s sister and her two children were living with them. She was dependant on them. By Bashar, Naeema and the kids coming to Canada, her support was gone,” said Martine Varekamp, a regulated Canadian immigration consultant with Immigration Care.
“She’s a single woman who doesn’t receive a lot of support. She’s not allowed to work, her children aren’t allowed to go to school. She lives in far from great conditions…We really want her to get back with her family.”
An application was submitted last summer for Khadija and her children to come to Canada through sponsorship. The application is now in Lebanon with the family waiting to be interviewed. Processing times, however, are hard to predict, but Varekamp says they hope they’ll be able to bring the rest of the family over within the next year and want to be prepared for their potential arrival.
Hoping to raise funds to that end, as well as awareness of the plight some refugees face when they come to Canada, a community event in the form of two film screenings will be held on Saturday, April 14 at the Lacombe Cinemas.
Two films, both produced by the National Film Board of Canada and made available through the library, will be shown.
Everybody’s Children follows two unaccompanied minors from the Congo and Sierra Leone through their first year in Toronto as they navigate life in a new country while trying to overcome past challenges.
Meanwhile, 19 Days follows several families through their first 19 days in Canada right from pick up at the Calgary International Airport.
“They’re pretty raw films,” said Varecamp. “There’s a lot that has happened to these people before they arrive here – people forget that sometimes. They think they just come to Canada for a better life, but really they’re escaping from an unsafe place and they’ve all suffered a lot of trauma before they come here.”
The screening of the films will begin at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are available at the door and while donations will be accepted, they are not required.
Those not able to attend to the film screenings can also make donations to aid in the reunification process via a Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com/refugee-family-reunification.
For more information on the Lacombe Community Refugee Effort, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LacombeCRE.