Syrian Refugee Family to be Reunited in Harriston

By: Angelica Babiera, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,
MINTO – Two Syrian brothers are finally reuniting after years of being separated from each other as the Minto Refugee Settlement Committee successfully sponsored another Syrian family to Harriston.
Five years ago, Ahmad and Henan Almohamed and their family left a refugee camp in Turkey and arrived in Harriston after escaping the violence in their war-torn homeland. They were the first refugee family the committee ever sponsored.
Now, it’s Ahmad’s brother, Obid Almohamed, and his family’s turn.
Their application has been accepted and they are set to arrive on Nov. 23.
“So, the application went through the Knox Calvin Presbyterian Church and it was sent to the United Nations or whoever is looking after bringing over refugees to Canada and we were approved,” said Terry Fisk, a committee member and the one responsible for the family’s immigration paperwork.
He noted that Obid’s daughter has cerebral palsy and the committee and the church’s main point in the application was to get her to a place with better care than the care she’s been receiving at the refugee camp in Turkey.
“They’re a big family; a family of seven. The kids range from four to 19 and I know that their main concern is to be able to give their children a brighter future and life than the one they currently have in Turkey,” said Terry.
Fisk’s wife, Krista, who is also a realtor and a committee member, noted that she was able to get the family housing, which was their main concern due to the current housing crisis Canada is experiencing.
“I just happened to be in the right place at the time,” said Krista.
“A listing came up for sale that required immediate possession. Despite a little competition, a buyer was able to purchase the property with the intention of renting it to the Almohameds. It was like someone was looking out for us. The purchase process went smoothly despite a housing market that is very challenging to navigate.”
Obid will be working alongside his brother Ahmad as a tiler for a local ceramics company.
The two younger children are set to attend public school at Harriston.
Meanwhile, the committee is trying to see if the three older children are able to attend the local high school.
“We think two of them might be too old to go to high school but the third one might be able to, so we’re in the midst waiting to hear about that,” said committee chairman, Carrie Fayez.
“They’ll be learning English as a second language, but that program is currently being held online and we’re waiting to see if any laptops and computers are going to be donated.”
Fayez noted that the committee is working with local organizations for everyday supplies such as clothing, electronics, and furniture. She also expressed that monetary donations are always welcomed as this time around the government was unable to help the committee out with funding unlike last time.
“Last time, we received funding from the government when we sponsored Ahmad and his family,” Fayez said.
“They paid half the year and the committee paid the other half. But I’m not sure if that’s the same thing happening this year but we’ll try to help the newcomers any way we can. We just have not talked to the local and provincial governments for funding.”