A first Canadian Thanksgiving
A Report from the Trinity (Streetsville) Sponsorship Committee
by Bill and Dalia
The family arriving from Jordan in February 2021
In early 2020, AURA advised Trinity that an Iraqi family currently living in Amman, Jordan, was approved for immigration to Canada. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, travel was delayed until early 2021. We learned that a family of four - father, mother, with a daughter 18 and a son 13 - would arrive early in February. Our committee of eight volunteers rallied to prepare a "quarantine house" for at least the first 14 days, and work to find suitable accommodation as soon as possible. A Trinity-owned house was available rent-free, and it served as temporary residence until an apartment was found, which happened to be available on the first of March. This was indeed a double blessing!
Since that time, we have been able to assist the family with government related applications such as S.I.N., Health Cards, PR Cards, and Canada Child Benefits. In addition, all of us have pitched in for multiple medical, dental and eye-care appointments. Due to Covid and the various associated protocols getting everything done has been generally much slower, complicated, and made worse by recurring technological issues.
On the education front, our efforts have been two-pronged - English language assessment for the father and daughter, and public school enrollment for the daughter and son. The mother was reluctant to start ESL classes, but she did eventually participate in an online ESL Level 1 class. The education component has posed one of the biggest challenges for us as volunteers during COVID times. All communication, assessment, and ESL classes have been virtual. The instructions and procedures are difficult for immigrants with limited language and computer skills. Sponsors spent hours trying to get help with online instructions and submissions, and ensure that there was adequate follow-up. By May, both the son and daughter were doing online classes (including ESL support) from the local Peel schools. For September 2021, they are accepted for in person learning at their local Secondary School.
The pandemic has thrown many obstacles at us - that is, the family and our committee. The family has demonstrated strength of faith, resilience, independence and creativity. Our team has responded to the challenges and learned that there are always new and different ways of doing things. We all look forward to the time we can gather together to give thanks and celebrate!