Things are well underway as we prepare for the refugee family coming to Haliburton from Syria. While we don’t know exactly when they’re coming, we do know the family is two parents and nine children. They’re awaiting a flight to Canada from Beirut, Lebanon, and we are ready to receive them!
The fundraising committee started us off with a tremendous effort. Through their efforts and the generosity of the full-time and seasonal residents, businesses and organizations of Haliburton County, we have raised sufficient funds to support the family for one year.
The house the family will be renting has undergone a complete makeover thanks to an army of volunteers painting, gardening, cleaning and furnishing. As you are all likely aware, the community has helped with this endeavour through financial donations and furnishings and other household items for the family. Thanks to volunteers, all of those donations have been organized to make the house a home.
Our transportation committee has been busy arranging for rides from the airport to Haliburton. We’ve compiled a list of several transportation options so that we’re ready to pick-up the family no matter the day or time. They are also working on a system to organize rides to appointments once the family is here.
The Trillium Lakelands District School Board has met with representatives of our ESL committee. Principals from all three schools the children will attend were at the meeting. We have a special room of the home set-up for schooling and a strong team of more than two dozen ESL volunteers ready to get started. This committee and the Welcome Wagon have also been lining up translations of documents and arranging for Arabic speaking translators for key meetings.
The Welcome Wagon has developed a booklet (also to be translated into Arabic) of information about living in Canada and the Highlands for the family and has people working on all of the financial aspects of living in their new country and home.
The health committee has been working hard to make sure our newcomers will be connected with dental, vision and general health services in the community and our Welcome Wagon group is preparing to help the family navigate all of the bureaucracy they’re about to encounter in Canada.
We’ve been in touch with the New Canadian Refugee Centre in Peterborough, which will be useful in the weeks and months ahead.
This process has been a lesson in the unending support of the community, the warm-heartedness of strangers and the strong humanitarian spirit of the Highlands. Thanks to all volunteers and supporters for your help!
We will continue to inform you of events as they occur. We know that you are all as anxious as us to meet the family and welcome them to our community.