The Saugeen Shores Refugee Fund is thrilled to announce that we’ve been matched with a second family for resettlement! Official paperwork has been signed, but we do not yet know a precise arrival date. It will be sometime within the next 1 to 4 months.
Interestingly, this new family comes from Central Africa, with some members born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and others in Zambia. There are two parents and four school-aged children. A fifth young child is missing, but if found, he will join the family in Canada.
This sponsorship will take us in a completely new direction. It’s simultaneously terrifying and thrilling as we try to build a support network for these strangers from a part of the world that most of us know very little about. Central Africa has faced tremendous violence, and now widespread famine, but its plight is much less publicized than Syria’s conflict.
From Mennonite Central Committee:
“For more than two decades, the DRC has struggled with conflict in eastern provinces. As of Nov 2014, an estimated 2.6 million Congolese were internally displaced and nearly 500,000 had fled into neighbouring countries. Non-state armed groups and elements of the Congolese army (FARDC) threaten civilians.”
Our sponsorship group will be learning as much as we can about the region and its culture(s) over the next few weeks, and we hope to organize a community information night in the near future to help prepare Saugeen Shores for these newcomers. We’ll keep you posted.
If you want to help: We are beginning to think about housing, which will be a challenge during the summer months. (The family will almost certainly be here by mid-September.) We cannot rent more than a month in advance. If you have any solid leads for a 3-bedroom year-round rental in Port Elgin or Southampton, please get in touch. Send an email to knmartinko[at]gmail.com.
If you know of anyone who speaks Swahili, please send them our way! We’ve been very fortunate to find one translator, but the more we can find, the easier it will be for everyone.
Thank you, Saugeen Shores, for making this possible with your incredible financial donations and ongoing social support.