Parksville group hoping to reunite Syrian refugee family on Vancouver Island
PARKSVILLE -- A volunteer group on the Mid-Island has found a unique way to solicit funds to bring a Syrian refugee family to Canada to reunite with family members on Vancouver Island.
The Hesham Refugee Sponsorship Group is asking seniors in the Parksville-Qualicum area to donate a portion or all of their B.C. COVID-19 supplement funding to help get the family out of a Turkish refugee camp.
"We thought, ‘Wait a minute, there are a number of people on the board and probably in the community that really, if anything, are spending less money because of COVID,’" said the group's co-chair, Terry Roberts.
The group is hoping to get a Syrian man, Hesham Alhbiyou, and his wife and two children to Canada to reunite with his sister, Samar Al Hbyao, and her family on Vancouver Island.
Al Hbyao moved to the Mid-Island more than two years ago. She says Syria was no longer safe for her family nor Hesham's.
She says there are many bombings in the region and according to the sponsorship group's Facebook page, Hesham's home was destroyed by a bombing and he suffered severe torture after his work truck was stolen by Isis.
"The good news is, Hesham has been to the Canadian embassy in Ankara and (he has completed) his security check and his heath check and everything seems to be well in hand that way," said Roberts.
Roberts says the group is assisting with the legal process of bringing the family to Canada and that about $10,000 of their $15,000 target has already been met.
Roberts says contributions can also be made to the sponsorship group through the Saint Mark's Anglican Church in Qualicum Beach.
The group is hoping a quick decision will be made by the Canadian embassy and that a visa will be issued to the family so they can be reunited soon.