Refugee Support Team Update March 2018
We met our new refugee family from Palestine in early December. They are: Mahmoud (dad), Rozan (mom), Ann (3-year-old girl) and Eliyaa (3-month-old girl). Those of you who were at church on March 4, 2018 may have had an opportunity to meet them at coffee. Our 10 member team provides social, emotional and financial support to the family and finds them a delight to work with.
Our team has been very good at sleuthing out free programs in northeast Calgary where the family lives. Given the weather this winter, volunteers have been driving them to these events. On Mondays, Evelda and Marilyn take Rozan and the girls to Magic Carpet at the Genesis Centre. This is a weekly family fun literacy program for parents and their pre-school children. On Tuesdays, Penny takes Rozan and the children to Mother Goose, an Immigrant Services Calgary program that’s also offered at the centre. This group experience involves rhymes, songs and stories for parents, babies, and young children. On Thursdays, Evelda takes Rozan to the Village Square Library for a drop-in ESL program for moms. Childcare is provided for Ann and the baby just sleeps. We believe that when the weather improves and with the acquisition of a double stroller, Rozan will be able to manage taking the children on her own. The family has also found a free drop in and play time for Ann twice a week. This is within walking distance of their home.
As they are refugees, they are not eligible to attend free ESL programs. Joanne has started to offer in home ESL, as we did with our Syrian family. As Mahmoud and Rozan already have a good command of English we are starting at a much higher level. Michael and other team members have also supported the family in accessing medical services, which are provided under the Interim Federal Health Program. Les and Judy came to their rescue when pipes burst and they had no water for several days.
Jim has provided encouragement and sought assistance from immigrant serving agencies that offer support in job search, resume writing, income tax filing and general information about life in Canada. With his help Mahmoud has begun applying for jobs and will attend a job fair this month.
The family is waiting for an appointment with the Immigration Review Board, which will determine if they are eligible to become permanent residents. This waiting period is an anxious time for them. With their university degrees, and open friendly natures we think they are excellent candidates and really hope that the decision will be favourable. Penny, Michael and Marjorie are their tag team for this.
As you can see, they are a busy family, working hard to settle in and learn about Canada. Mahmoud says “weekends are for fun, if possible.” Tobogganing is a favourite activity. We look forward to taking them on more outings.
-Marjorie MacRae, Chair of the Refugee Support Team.
For more information on McDougall’s Refugee Support Team or if you want to volunteer, contact Chair Marjorie MacRae at firstname.lastname@example.org.