First Syrian refugees arrive in West Kelowna

Family of six being sponsored by the West Kelowna Initiative for Refugee Settlement.

  • Jan. 30, 2016 12:00 p.m.

The West Kelowna Initiative for Refugee Settlement has welcomed the first Syrian refugee family to the Central Okanagan community.

Gioia Morris, group spokesperson, said just over a month ago, a group of friends met to discuss what could be done to help with the humanitarian crisis in Syria. After a bit of discussion and a lot o paperwork, an application for sponsorship was submitted and approved by the federal government.

Morris said just a few weeks later now a family of six, mother, father and four young children ages two to ten have arrived to their new home in West Kelowna.

“It has been a whirlwind of activity,” said Morris. “We have come together very quickly and have worked incredibly hard to find temporary housing, shop for food, prepare to get the oldest children enrolled in school and tackled multitude of paperwork to be able to welcome the family to Canada and help them transition into their new life in West Kelowna.”

Morris said the private sponsorship group is responsible for providing financial assistance to the family for a minimum of one year with some government support. The goal is to help the family become self sufficient as soon a possible. This is not an easy process and the group would love community assistance in helping meet some of the family’s many needs as they arise, she added.

A number of fund-raising events are already in the preliminary planning stages.m “While we don’t yet have any details on these events ready to release, we are anticipatin some pretty exciting things for the public to look forward to and participate in,” Morris said.

Check out the Facebook page under West Kelowna Initiative for Refugee Settlement for more information as it becomes available, www.facebook.com/wkirs

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