After a two-year wait, the Iraqi refugee family sponsored by the Team Sooke Juan de Fuca Refugee Sponsorship Committee is expected to be here before Christmas.
The family was approved in 2016 to come to Canada, but has been stuck in Lebanon and unable to work.
“I’m so happy for the family. They have come through hell and for the last two years have been in a very insecure and worrisome situation. Now we are able to lift them out of that and get them started on a new life in Sooke,” said sponsorship committee chairman Sid Jorna.
For now, the family will be set up with temporary housing until the committee can find it a more permanent place to live.
Jorna said the committee has raised enough money to support the family for a year, including things like rent, utilities, some living expenses, medical and dental, and some repayment of their travel expenses.
“Our whole aim is to make them self sufficient by the end of a year, but when you think about it, they are coming with no English language, into a completely different culture and environment, a year isn’t really that long,” said Jorna.
“It’s going to be a huge shock for them.”
The committee has been spending time talking back and forth with the family, giving them a feeling for what to expect when they get here, as well as teaching them a little bit of English.
“Just about everything you can think of is going to be a challenge for them, but we have been doing our best to help reduce the initial shock,” he said.
“It’s a very difficult thing for them but at the same time it’s full of hope and new beginnings.”
He added that they have done everything they can to get prepared for the family’s arrival, and the committee is very thankful for the support they have received from the community.
“This whole thing has been a complete community effort, and now we are ready. We are flexible to accommodate whatever arises, and it’s going to be great,” said Jorna. “I think they are going to love it here.”