March 27, 2019

The 2nd anniversary of the landing of our refugee families is fast approaching (April 13th) and Badran and his family are settling into their new lives in Canada.

Badran continues to take English lessons, as does Slama, and both are seeing good progress.  Badran is ready to tackle level 3, while Linc and Slama have achieved level 5.  Slama is ready to enter the workforce and is actively seeking suitable work in an office or retail setting.

Asma continues to do well in school.  She has one more year at Coquitlam College to make up for lost education and complete her high school diploma.  Asma is seeking a summer job as the company where she and Lava worked for the past two summers cannot employ them this year.

Lava continues to earn accolades in school and has won several grants towards further education.  she has also been nominated for the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award.  She completes her high school diploma from Coquitlam, at the end of this school term and is currently investigating university/college entry options.  She will speak with SFU soon and is looking at a January 2020 start date.  Lava is doing a part time job at London Drugs and is seeking additional work for the summer.

Slava is in high school and continues to do well there.  She may require one year at Coquitlam College if the high school cannot offer a place for one more year to complete her high school diploma.  She has a part time job at Starbucks.

It's important to realize that these three girls in particular lost a lot of school time when they fled their home and resided in a refugee camp for so long.  They have to play catch up.

Mohamad is doing very well in school.  We expect him to graduate on schedule and move on to university education.  He started working in Customer Service at YVR and is extremely well thought of there.  Additionally, he started working a secont part time job at the Burnaby Public Library as Page since December 2018. 

Mava and Yousif now have excellent English, as do their older siblings.  Both are still in elementary school and seem to have settled very well, as tends to be the case with younger children.

Since August 2017 the family has been registered with BC Housing Agency and we have volunteers regularly checking with low cost housing associations and co-ops for space for the family.  Sadly, to date we have been unable to secure subsidized housing for them.  The relationship with the current landlords is a little strained and the family has expressed a desire to move sooner rather than later.  We therefore investigated the private rental market.

This past week the family secured a rental unit that works for them and will move from New Westminster to Burnaby.  The children are able to continue in the same schools.  The lease is signed and they take possession of the new place on April 15th, 2019.

They are all excited about the new place, especially Badran, as there is an outside yard where he plans to create a little garden to keep himself busy and produce vegetables for their table.  the kids are happy as they can play outdoors and not worry about creating noise.  Given the unrest between the family and the current landlord, this move to a home with an outdoor space will be a nice reprieve, especially as we move towards the summer months.

This update was kindly sent to us at LVUC by Ingeborg Brown of North Lonsdale United Church.


Additional Note: This family was sponsored by a consortium of churches (the North Shore United Refugee Response), including Lynn Valley United. North Lonsdale UC is collecting funds to help this family with their moving expenses and deposit. Contributions from other congregations are most welcome. You can mail them directly to North Lonsdale United Church (mark cheques for Syrian Refugee Project) or give to Judith Clark.