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.

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May 31, 2021

Dear OSSRI/Sponsorship Supporters,

Many of you contributed to and supported the Or Shalom Syrian Resettlement Initiative. We are endlessly grateful that through your generosity we were able to sponsor nine adults and seven children in 2016/17 and another four adults in 2019 to come to Canada from Syria and Iraq. Fighting continues in Syria and many Syrian refugees are stranded in countries where they have no future—including relatives of those we helped bring to Canada. That’s why we’re writing to you—in hopes you will want to help four families who are currently stranded in Northern Iraq and who are related to the Bazari and Mohammad families we have already brought to Canada.

New Families

The four families have recently had virtual interviews with a Visa Officer and will shortly be sent for their medical assessments. We are hoping that if all goes well they will receive their permissions to travel in the next three months.

Here’s a snapshot of the families we are sponsoring:

Family 1: two adults and two boys aged 10 and 7 years. Both adults are physicians.

Family 2: two adults and a 1-year old girl. The father worked in a telecommunications store and the mother is a physical trainer.

Family 3: two adults and two boys aged 6 and 4 years. The father is a social worker and the mother is a French teacher.

Family 4: two adults, one boy aged 11 years and three girls aged 12, 7 and 3 years. The father is a civil engineer and the mother is a teacher.

We need your help.

We need:

  • Storage Space
  • Volunteers to collect and transport furniture and household items
  • Furniture and household items for four apartments
  • Apartment set-up

We need volunteers in the following areas to help the families settle when they arrive:

  • Finance (including budgeting, phone purchase and internet set up)
  • Registration and support to enrol the children in school
  • Support to access language classes and employment
  • Health (including dental, vaccinations) (604) 325-0780
  • Apartment set-up

If you are able to volunteer and help support the families, please contact:

Sandy Berman at 604.873.8545 or


Joan Andersen at (604) 736-4184 or


Rebecca Frame at (604) 325-0780 or

Thank you for your kind consideration to this most worthy cause.
David Berson and Maurice Block Co-Chairs, OSSRI

Previous Updates:

August 31, 2020

OSSRI would like to thank the Or Shalom community and other sponsors for your support of the Mohammed Family Sponsorship. Thanks to your generosity we managed to raise the $11,000 needed to cover the family’s travel costs.

The sponsorship is coming to an end and the family are all doing well. The parents were enrolled in afternoon English classes and have participated in online classes but hope to return when classes open up again. The eldest daughter was in English classes in the morning and works afternoons and evenings in a grocery store. A volunteer is now tutoring her once a week. The youngest daughter completed English and Biology classes at Douglas College last term and is enrolled in other classes this term.

The four other families sponsored by Or Shalom are doing well. We’ll provide an update later in the year.  

David Berson and Maurice Bloch,
OSSRI Co-Chairs