Lifeline Syria Cape Breton emerged in 2015 out of a community desire to act in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. It represents the belief of many Cape Bretoners that we had both a responsibility and a capacity to respond to the crisis with open doors and open arms.
Since this time, Cape Breton Island has welcomed 14 families from Syria. These families were comprised of 27 adults, 46 children with 4 more children having been born since their family’s arrival. These families have settled in Baddeck, Marion Bridge, Port Hawkesbury, Sydney Mines, Sydney, Margaree, Cheticamp, Mabou, Port Hood, Westmount, and Isle Madame.
Eleven of these 14 families remain in Cape Breton today and efforts are underway now to complete three additional family reunifications (helping to bring and settle the extended family of three of the families now settled here).
This accomplishment would not have been possible without the generous efforts of donors, private volunteer sponsorships groups, community fundraising event organizers, and communities all across Cape Breton.
In order to welcome a family, substantial fundraising has to occur in advance and a group of five individuals must commit to ensuring that the new family has everything they need for the next year. This includes things like securing a home for the new family, communicating with them pre-arrival to identify particular needs, meeting them at the airport, outfitting their home, registering for health cards, child tax benefits, and health cards, and much more.
These efforts have been supported day-in and day-out by our new Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration. Funded by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration, hosted by New Dawn and located in the New Dawn Centre for Social Innovation, this Centre was fundamental to our ability to welcome so many families in such a relatively short time. The Centre offers settlement support services to all newcomers arriving in Cape Breton, including refugees.
This experience has confirmed for us once again the generous, committed, hard-working, and welcoming nature of Cape Bretoners.
With the major influx of refugees from Syria now behind us, Lifeline Syria Cape Breton has elected to wrap up its work, though the private sponsorship of refugees in Cape Breton has been a long-standing tradition and one that will continue long after this particular effort.
Thank you for opening your hearts and your communities so generously and instantaneously to those looking for a safe, and welcoming new home. Your kindness will reverberate for generations to come.
If you have any questions about a donation you have made to Lifeline Syria Cape Breton or a tax receipt for a donation made, you can contact Shauna MacKeigan, Accounting Assistant, at New Dawn Enterprises at 902-539-9560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about immigration settlement, you can contact Nadine Paruch, Settlement Counsellor, at the Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration at 902-270-5772 or email@example.com.
If you have any questions about Lifeline Syria Cape Breton more generally, you can contact Erika Shea at 902-539-9560 Ext. 223 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lifeline Syria Cape Breton Board
Dr. Mohammad Abbas
Dr. Keith Brown
Dr. Andrew Lynk
Dr. David Wheeler