Refugee Sponsorship and Resettlement Initiative

“It is not your obligation to complete the task of perfecting the world, but neither are you free to abandon it.” – Rabbi Tarfon, Pirkei Avot.

On behalf of Or Shalom Syrian Refugee Initiative, thank you for the generous donations so many members of our community have made to our cause.  Over 195 contributions amounting to over $100,000 have made it possible to bring three Syrian families to Vancouver and have strengthened our community’s resolve to do this vital work of opening our arms and hearts to those in need.

With the help of donors and volunteers, our sponsored families will make Vancouver their home in the not-too-distant future and we will have the means to make their transition and settlement easier. We look forward to updating you on the progress of our families in the coming weeks as more information becomes available to us.

2015 has seen many dark moments – moments that broke our hearts, but the outpouring of generosity and concern that we have seen in our community has demonstrated that there is always light that seeps into the places that are most broken, and for the families waiting to come to Canada, you are part of that light, and part of our commitment to tikkun olam – healing and repairing the world.

Thank you once again for your generosity and for inspiring others with your kindness.

OSSRI Steering Committee

January 2017 – UPDATE from OSSRI

We have good news to report. The arrival of the remaining three families being sponsored by Or Shalom may be more imminent than expected. We have been receiving regular updates over the last few weeks that two of the three families have been interviewed by officials from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Canadian Visa Officers.

Once the interviews are complete, the families will need to undergo medical exams. The third family also had their interview and completed their medicals in early December. They are now waiting to get their travel papers.

Family #1

But first an update on the first family (Ali and Ali) who arrived last year: Both Alis are doing well and keen to start volunteering and working. Both are currently enrolled in English classes Monday – Thursday in the mornings. Ali J is looking for a part-time job and Ali K is seeking volunteer opportunities.

Please contact Jane at if you know of any volunteer or part-time work opportunities – especially if the work doesn’t require prior Canadian experience.

Remaining three families coming soon (we hope)

The resettlement teams assigned to the remaining families are mobilized and preparing for the families’ arrivals:

  • Family #2 (4 members) had a telephone interview by an IOM official. The family then travelled four hours to be interviewed by a Canadian visa officer two Sunday’s ago. They have not as yet been contacted for their medical exam. For the first time, the family has stated that they are feeling encouraged about their future. The resettlement team has signed a lease for an apartment in Coquitlam starting February 1. This will give the team time to set up the apartment and avoid the need for the family to stay in a hotel upon their arrival in Canada.
  • Family #3 (5 members) has been interviewed by the IOM and were interviewed by a Canadian visa officer Tuesday of last week. They are also waiting to complete their medicals. The resettlement team continues to meet monthly and is ready to welcome them.
  • Family #4 (5 members) is in Turkey and were interviewed by a Canadian Visa Officer and completed their medicals in early December.

Despite the flurry of communication in recent weeks, there is still no clear sense yet of exact dates of arrival for any of the families, but it could be as soon as the end of February or a few months beyond that. We will keep you posted as new information comes in and alert you to any needs that might arise as the families’ resettlement to Canada is confirmed and plane tickets are booked.


Thanks to the generosity of OSSRI donors, we have raised enough money to cover a year’s living costs for each of the families we are sponsoring.