The BDRA is asking for emergency donations, however small, to help the Al-Alem family survive the COVID-19 crisis in Lebanon as they now wait, even more anxiously, to be re-united with their family here in Burlington.
In 2015, the BDRA sponsored the Hajj-Kasem family to come to Canada in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. As many of you know, they are a wonderful family and it has been a pleasure watching them thrive in their new home. But one family member – Karima – had to withdraw from the application because she had recently married. Karima, her husband Mohamad, and their two young children are still living as refugees in Lebanon, almost a decade after first fleeing from their homes in Syria at the outset of the Syrian Civil War. In late February they had their first interview with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and the BDRA had begun to prepare hoping for their arrival before long.
Then COVID-19 hit ….
The Al-Alems’ arrival has now been delayed indefinitely, and as a result they need our help more than ever during this period of uncertainty. Although Karima and her family are currently well and in good spirits, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the economic and psychological hardships for Syrian refugees living in Lebanon much worse.
Even before the pandemic, Syrian refugees were excluded from most forms of employment, had no access to the Lebanese healthcare system, and were often blamed for Lebanon’s financial crisis.
Here’s is Karima’s description of life before Covid-19 hit.
‘If we stay [in Beirut] we will suffer from malnutrition because we have costs we cannot pay because of the lack of work and low wages. Also my husband has been beaten twice. We are persecuted because of our nationality, our religion and our political leader. … We are here in a time of slavery. My husband tries to work non-stop all week with a monthly salary that does not meet the requirements of a family of four. I cannot work because they do not respect women here.’Karima Hajj-Kasem
Since Karima wrote those words, her husband Mohamed has lost his work owing to a fire in the market. In the current situation, all work has dried up. The family must find hundreds of dollars every month simply to pay for rent and food. Meanwhile, the threat to refugees of being forcibly sent back into war-torn Syria is growing.
We can help …
Wisal and Said are helping their daughter and her family as best they can, but they cannot do it alone … and the BDRA wants to help.
We know this is a difficult time for all of us. That’s why we are not asking for large donations, or for help funding our long-term sponsorship objectives. We are only asking for whatever small amount you feel comfortable providing to meet the urgent short-term needs of the Al-Alem family.
Your donation today will provide the Al-Alems with the security they need to get through the current crisis safely and in good health, and give some peace of mind to their family in Burlington.