They’re here!!!

The family arrived safely on January 27th, 2021 during the middle of a miserable cold snap. They have been in quarantine at a Guelph hotel for the two-week period. During this time, extended family, Bridge to Guelph and community members have been hard at work preparing their permanent home. It’s looking beautiful and will be ready for them to move in February 11th. Everyone is very excited!

We are also busily getting bank accounts set up, arranging phone/internet, registering for school, sorting out various documents (SIN, Interim Federal Health Plan, Permanent Resident cards) and arranging language assessments with the support of Immigrant Services, and arranging health care providers. There is a lot to do in the first few weeks after arrival and logistics are more complex during the Stay at Home order.

We will be in touch again once the family gets their feet under them and we can figure out additional needs together. In the meantime, we continue to fundraise to cover COVID-related costs for quarantine and repaying the travel loan to the Government of Canada for their flights here. Please see how to help for more information.

Thank you again for all your generous support!

We have housing!

Wonderful news! We have secured both temporary quarantine accommodation AND permanent housing for the family! Thank you to everyone that made offers/suggestions and kept an eye out for us J The family arrives January 27, 2021 and will be in quarantine for 14 days. They get their townhouse on February 1st but need to wait until their quarantine period is finished on February 11th before moving in. This also means we have a little bit of time to set up their new home with the supports of their extended family already here in Guelph. We have been working with Public Health to make sure all the arrangements are in alignment with the new provincial Stay at Home Order.

We are preparing a Welcome Kit and checking off the last items on our Wishlist! Please see our Donations section or contact us if you have contributions to share to welcome the family.

New arrival date!

We have an official arrival date of January 27, 2021!!! The family is busily making preparations for come to Canada and Bridge to Guelph is getting everything ready for their arrival. There’s a lot to do in just a few short weeks!

We need help with housing and fundraising!

Housing: Do you know of an affordable 3-bedroom space we can rent for 14-days? Or a 3-bedroom apartment or house in the Onward Willow neighbourhood for permanent housing? If you know of an option that meets this description, please let us know!  

We are searching for both temporary quarantine and permanent housing. This is a challenging task in a city with a 1% vacancy rate, especially during a pandemic. A report by the Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership (2019) tells us that newcomers in Guelph face additional challenges to finding affordable housing due to lack of credit history, discrimination, increasing rental costs and language barriers: http://www.guelphwellingtonlip.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/GWLIP-Barriers-to-Housing-for-Immigrants-in-Guelph-Wellington-FINAL-ES-and-Report.pdf

IRCC Update

Bridge to Guelph has been contacted by Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees Canada (IRCC) that travel will resume for resettling refugees from Jordan! The B2G team and sponsored family remain committed to reuniting with family in Guelph. We are working hard on a quarantine plan, ongoing fundraising, and organizing donations. We are hopeful to have an arrival date soon! If you would like to offer support, please click on the How You Can Help section of the website or contact us directly.

UNHCR and IOM Refugee Resettlement resumes

UNHCR and IOM Update: We have just learned that UNHCR (the United Nations Refugee Agency) and IOM (International Organization for Migration) will resume refugee resettlement and travel arrangements! There will be refugee resettlement flights to Canada from Indonesia and Malaysia in July 2020. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions on flights out of Jordan, the family’s flight remains on hold. The family have all been approved as Permanent Residents and will be contacted as soon as safe travel arrangements can be made through IOM and IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada). We hope to have news soon on their new arrival date! The family remains healthy and well as they prepare to leave Jordan and re-unite with loved ones in Guelph.

In the meantime, please stay informed and connected. Over 6.6 million people are displaced within Syria and throughout the world – this is almost half of the pre-war population of Syria. The majority of refugees (5.5 million people) are in neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. COVID-19 and economic crises mean host countries are struggling maintain support for refugees. You can learn about the impacts of COVID-19 for refugees and Refugees Making a Difference during the Time of COVID-19 throughout the world by following UNHCR’s latest updates.

At the same time, nearly 1 million people (80% women and children) within Syria have been forced further northwest through ongoing attacks by Syrian and/or Russian government forces, including documented targeted strikes on schools, hospitals and critical infrastructure. You can read the latest Amnesty International report: ‘Nowhere is Safe for Us’ to better understand the ongoing internal displacement and humanitarian crisis in Syria.

We continue to remain in contact with the family, fundraise and prepare for their arrival. If you would like to support this work, please see our How You Can Help section.

We hope you stay healthy and well. Thank you for all your support!

More waiting…

We had a flurry of activity when we learned that the family would be arriving in Guelph on March 25, 2020. As you can all imagine, all refugee settlement has been put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have received regular updates from the family that they are healthy and well during this challenging time of continued waiting. We understand that we will be contacted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) when it is safe for the family to leave Jordan and travel to Canada.

We continue to fundraise and will need support to find a 3-bedroom apartment or townhouse once the family is approved to travel. If you would like to offer support to Bridge to Guelph, please see our How You Can Help page.

Thank you to everyone for all your help and support throughout this journey!

Family is approved!!! And more delays…

Bridge to Guelph is so happy to announce that the family has been approved to come to Guelph!!! We received an arrival date of March 25, 2020. This is now postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic plans of the Government of Canada that limits international travel. We hope to have an update soon.

In the meantime, we have been hard at work finding housing, fund-raising and acquiring donations. We have been lucky enough to secure an apartment near family and friends. People in our community have been generously donating new and gently used items. And we continue to fundraise to support all the resettlement needs of the family for the first year.

Please see our How You Can Help section to find out more.

Thank you for all your ongoing support! We hope you stay healthy and well through these strange times.

 

Moving forward!

It has been a while since our last post, and we wanted to update everyone on the application process. Once we were approved as sponsors by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), it was a 23 month wait for the application to be processed in Jordan. But great news!!! The family Bridge to Guelph has been working with had their interview in Amman, Jordan on October 6, 2019. It was a flurry of excitement and preparation to complete new forms, get documents in order and make travel arrangements to the capital city. Both parents and all 5 children attended the interview and are feeling positive about it.

What happens now?

 

  1. Waiting for the decision: The family’s interview information will be reviewed at the Visa office in Jordan. If they are approved, the next steps will be Medical, Security and Criminality Checks. Once they make it to this stage, it could be weeks before they arrive!
  2. Fundraising: Would you consider making a 2019 donation to Bridge to Guelph? If you would like to be involved in fundraising or have some great ideas to share, please connect with us!
  3. Housing: When the family arrives, we will need to find housing very quickly. Do you know of an affordable 3-bedroom apartment or house? Please let us know!

 

If you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact us!

We’re doing it again!

It’s been just over two years since our first sponsor family arrived in Guelph, and we’ve received the good news from the government that we can apply to sponsor another refugee family this year!

For a long time now, the family who came over in 2016 have been worried about a sister and her kids who fled Syria and are stuck in Jordan. We’re so happy that we can apply to bring them to Guelph as well, and look forward to bringing these families back together.

We hope to have the money in the bank by the end of May and the application in the mail by mid-June.  We’re just over a quarter of the way to our $40 000 goal. If you’d like to contribute please see the How You Can Help section.

We’re thrilled to be embarking on the next leg of this journey!

 

Settling in…

It’s been a busy three weeks for us at Bridge to Guelph, having welcomed our family to Guelph in the wee hours of the morning on March 1st.

Today the family moved into their permanent apartment and are so very happy and thankful to everyone who helped make the move possible. We have to thank Susan and Greg for so graciously hosting them in their temporary accommodations and helping to make them feel welcome. Through their stay, the kids were able to make some new friends, share a few meals (trying pancakes and maple syrup for the first time), and even got initiated into tobogganing culture very early on in their arrival – they quite loved it!

It’s been a busy few weeks for the family… a flurry of potlucks, meeting group members (only just now realizing how large our group is), meeting and making friends with other newcomers, getting oriented to how things get done around here, appointments, and taking time to visit some sights in and around Guelph. There’s a lot going on for them and at times it’s been quite overwhelming with the amount of information they’re taking in – we’re so grateful for our trusty translator friends who have been so generous with their time to help us communicate the important details.

The girls are very excited for their first day of school tomorrow. We’re all looking forward to seeing them get settled into their new place and life here. It seems like the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity so settling into a routine will be most welcome.

We’ll do our best to keep you up-to-date here. So many of you have offered your positive thoughts and best wishes to the family and we know you’re excited to hear more about how things are going. And we know… you want photos! However, those are going to have to wait as we’ve not gotten to the point where we’ve been able to ask about sharing details like that with the whole, wide world. You’ll just have to take our word for it when we say the kids are super-duper adorable 😉

Again, our thanks to all of you who are sending emails to check in and reaching out to offer help. It’s great to see people coming together to welcome our new friends to Guelph!