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The committee and two members of the newcomer family with Rebecca Siebert, refugee coordinator for the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, as she speaks to the congregation on Nov. 13, 2016.

The St. Philip Syrian Refugee Committee was formed in September, 2015, with the purpose of providing sponsorship for a Syrian refugee family needing relocation to a safe and welcoming community.  Initiated by members of the congregation of St. Philip Anglican Church, the committee was soon joined by a talented group of people not affiliated with any faith group who wanted to help and make a difference.

Having been blessed with incredibly generous support from both the church and wider community, the committee was able to expand its sponsorship to two families.

The first family of five (from Homs province) arrived in September 2016.  The children are enrolled in a local school, and the parents are taking English language classes.  Committee members provide support in numerous ways. The family is making tremendous strides.

The second family of five (from Aleppo) is currently in Lebanon awaiting permission to relocate.  It appears that Canadian government officials may give approval quickly based on humanitarian concerns, as the father (Fadil) suffered a spinal injury from a missile and sniper attack and is a paraplegic.  He and his wife along with three of their children need to come to Victoria where he can get proper medical support, and their children can resume their schooling. Thankfully, Fadil has a brother and his family who have lived in Victoria for twenty years, as well as another brother and family who have recently arrived as refugees.  They will undoubtedly be critical to his family’s transition.

As we have become clearer regarding Fadil’s medical condition, it is increasingly apparent that the costs to support the settlement of Fadil’s family will be greater than it is for other families. We are therefore seeking additional financial and other support in order to ensure that their transition is successful.  Of particular urgency is finding an affordable 2-3 bedroom apartment that is wheelchair accessible.

For further information about how to become involved, please contact St. Philip Anglican Church at 250-592-6823 or office@stphilipvictoria.ca .