November 12, 2019 – A Message from the Lifeline Syria Cape Breton Board of Directors on the Wrap Up and Accomplishments of Lifeline Syria Cape Breton
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about Lifeline Syria Cape Breton more generally, you can contact Erika Shea at 902-539-9560 Ext. 223 or email@example.com
The Lifeline Syria Cape Breton Board
Dr. Mohammad Abbas
Dr. Keith Brown
Dr. Andrew Lynk
Dr. David Wheeler
November 6, 2015 – An Update from the Lifeline Syria Cape Breton Steering Committee to Lifeline Syria Cape Breton Volunteers
Good day Lifeline Syria Cape Breton volunteers,
You are receiving this email because you expressed interest in remaining connected with the Lifeline Syria campaign here in Cape Breton. We would like to take this opportunity to offer a sincere thank you for showing interest in helping. Please be assured that we are working diligently on this endeavour, and your name has been added to our volunteer database so that when the time comes we will be reaching out to you to help.
As you may suspect, we have been waiting for our Federal Government to take form in order to better understand how the department of immigration plans to facilitate the welcoming of 25,000 Syrian asylum seekers into Canada by the end of 2015. In the coming days we expect to hear a statement from the Federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration which should clarify our path forward. Locally, the Lifeline Syria – Cape Breton steering committee is meeting with local MPs next week to discuss what these new changes in government will mean for bringing refugees into Cape Breton. In addition to plans from the Federal Government, and local governments, we are in talks with Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) on how best to receive and serve newcomers throughout our province.
Once again we want to thank you for showing your support, and for having patience throughout this process. You can expect to be contacted again over the next few weeks based on how you answered your Lifeline Syria questionnaire, so that you may assist in ways best suited to your skills. I hope that when the time comes that you will show your continued support so that we may show a good Cape Breton welcome to our newcomers.
Lifeline Syria Cape Breton Steering Committee
October 14, 2015 – CBC interview with Lifeline Syria Co-Chair, John Malcom
October 5, 2015 – Update from Lifeline Syria Co-Chair, David Wheeler
Please find below the minutes from our first Steering Committee meeting. last Wednesday.
Conveners of sub-groups have been encouraged to begin developing strategies with those who volunteered to help. These strategies are likely to include reference to i) federal, provincial and other partners with whom we will need to coordinate; ii) the objectives for each sub-group; and iii) the resources required (human, financial etc).
Advocacy – Ian MacNeil
Fundraising – John Malcom
Communications – Irene Khattar
Family Support/Settlement – Andre Gallant
Community Liaison/Administration—Amanda McDougall
David Wheeler and Amanda McDougall will work to identify a Canadian aid worker on the ground who we can begin to build a relationship with in order to start the refugee matching process. We will try to identify someone who can come to Cape Breton to do a lecture tour for a week or two to raise awareness among schools, churches and other social groups.
David will also try to secure some pro bono support for setting up a web site and identify which organisation(s) are going to lead on receipt of donations (including issuing of tax receipts).
Amanda will complete the inventory of volunteers and expertise working from the forms received so far (from the Cedars meeting, the on-line survey and the rally on Saturday). We will then circulate the inventory. We will also come up with a way to give all the volunteers something of significance to do.
We will be hosting a Lifeline Syria CB meeting with interested members of the CBU community on Thursday, September 24th at 5:00 pm in the Sydney Credit Union Room (CE265). Discussion will centre on what roles our staff and faculty see themselves taking on pertaining to the Syrian refugee crisis; some may be interested in dedicating research efforts, helping with fundraising or even facilitating community workshops and forums. Should you like to attend, you are more than welcome. Refreshments and a light supper will be provided. Please RSVP at your soonest convenience to Amanda McDougall.
In coming days we will communicate again with details of when and where the next steering committee meeting will occur, and we will liaise with sub-group coordinators on how we will stay aligned in the next week or so.
Thank you for your continuing interest and commitment. This is important work
(Interim Steering Committee Co-Chairs)
Lifeline Syria: Cape Breton Steering Committee
September 16th, 2015
Cape Breton University
Meeting Minutes: Lifeline Syria CB – Sept 16 Mtg Minutes
September 16, 2015 – Compassion grows, action to follow (Cape Breton Star)
September 16, 2015 – Rally for refugees set for CBU (Chronicle Herald)
September 11, 2015- Refugee road blocks (Information Morning Cape Breton)
Refugee Roadblocks (Information Morning Cape Breton)