Thursday, December 29, 2016
REST 2017 in Review
REST 2017 Year End Review
What an exciting year we have had in North Vancouver. Here are some highlights:
Honada, Said, Nour, Ahmad and Ibrahim arrived in January.
· Honada and Said have worked hard at improving their English through LINC classes, provided at North Shore Multicultural Society and with the support of a team of drivers and tutors.
· All of the kids have settled beautifully into school, with both schools advocating for appropriate levels of support for Nour and Ibrahim. Both kids have now been assessed by a Psychologist and we are waiting for her report.
· All of the kids have been treated by dentists and doctors, with both Nour and Ahmad being seen be specialists. Ibrahim will go to Children’s hospital in the New Year to finish off his dental treatment.
· Both Nour and Honada have had gall bladder surgery and are recovering nicely.
· Said has gained Canadian work experience, working with Balraj Singh on house building and remodeling.
· Said has received a full set of dentures and now has a handsome and comfortable set of teeth!
· 5 birthday parties!
· A great deal of paperwork, including housing applications, permanent resident cards, health services, and many more.
· Dealt with a robbery and a basement flood!
Still in the works:
· Finding long-term housing by the end of January and helping the family move. They are looking for a 2 or 3 bedroom place and hope to stay in their current neighborhood.
· Finding full time work for Said and part time work for Honada.
· Getting a driver’s license for Said. He now has proof of driving record, but we are trying to get a copy of the Driver training guide in Arabic so that he can pass the written test. Then he needs a few lessons and can take his full license.
· Thanks to the careful attention of Wilna and Dave Parry and to Amyn, Bukhari had a very soft landing in Canada, had amazingly quick visits to the dentist, doctors, and CNIB, and got registered for classes for the visually impaired at VCC.
· We have now hired a part-time, live-in caregiver named Max, and moved both men into a very nice apartment in Vancouver, walking distance to VCC.
· Bukhari is working hard to learn Braille, how to use a talking computer, how to use his talking iPhone, English, and white cane skills. On top of all of that, he is learning to navigate his new apartment and live as independently as he can.
Congolese family application:
· We have officially applied to sponsor a Congolese man named Malis and his three children. Malis is the brother of a wonderful man named Mambo, friend of Wilna Parry. Mambo is a settlement worker in the Burnaby schools and will be working with us to settle his family members near his home in Surrey. We do not know how long it will take to receive them in Vancouver, but we hope it will happen quickly!
Co-Sponsorship with Gulnar Carlisle:
· We have been working closely with Gulnar, who has completed the sponsorship application for Asmaa and Ahmad and their 3 children. Ahmad is the brother of Said and the whole family is very excited to see them again. There were several hold-ups in the processing of this application, but it is all in the works now and we hope they will be able to come to us soon. Gulnar has now gone to visit the family in the refugee camp in Lebanon! Now she has seen firsthand that the conditions are quite terrible and this will weigh heavily on Gulnar and all of us who wish we could help more people, more quickly.
Our group set a goal of raising $75,000 to provide support for Bukhari and for Honada and Said’s family. The total funds raised is now $111,064!!!!! Included in that amount is a bequest of $20,000 that was received just before Christmas. This bequest was given by an Anglican woman in North Vancouver who is no longer able to volunteer in her church, as she had for many years, but who wants to see her funds put to good use in the service of others. She knew that REST had purposely sponsored refugees with significant medical needs and hoped that her gift would help to provide for those challenges.
A huge round of applause goes out to all of you who have participated in so many fundraisers, made requests of your friends and family, and sent in your own funds to support this wonderful cause. Yes, we are making a difference in the world and we will keep doing it with your amazing support! Your time, treasure and talents have made so much possible in one year.
This year has been very busy and very rewarding. A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who have provided support with your prayers, your funds and fundraising, your driving, your patience, your services, and your kindness toward our new Canadians. An extra big thankyou goes to the amazing team of translators who have provided such caring and patient support in Arabic, Swahili and Somali.
Best wishes for a wonderful New Year. Please keep all refugees in your thoughts and prayers.
If anyone needs a new year happy story, here is a link about refugees brought to Guelph, sent to me by Susan Jasper. Thanks Susan!