Momentum to bring Syrians to Yellowknife ‘hasn’t died down’

Yellowknife residents
This group of Yellowknifers has spent the past year trying to bring a Syrian refugee family to the city.
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Yellowknifers helping Syrian families move to the city say more and more residents are getting involved.

Yellowknifers Supporting Syrian Refugees will hold a community meeting to update residents next week. Currently, one group in the city has a family of six assigned to it. At least two other groups are at an earlier stage.

Suzette Montreuil, a member of Yellowknifers Supporting Syrian Refugees, told Moose FM it’s proving easier than expected to deal with the immigration and sponsorship paperwork.

“It’s simpler than our perception was of bringing in refugees,” said Montreuil.

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“The government has organized itself around this cause and the process is more streamlined than any immigration process usually is.

“We have one family that is matched, a family of six. The total will depend on how many people organize to form a group.”

Meeting on Tuesday

The organization is still helping interested residents to form groups, with a meeting planned for 7pm on Tuesday, February 23, at City Hall.

“We have people who are still interested in the possibility, or maybe in helping just to fundraise and bring the families over,” said Montreuil.

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“This all evolved out of the meeting at City Hall in September where lots of people came and expressed an initial interest. That hasn’t really died down yet.”

Montreuil says some distinctly Canadian offers of help have so far been received.

“I had someone say, ‘I could teach them to skate if they wanted to learn,'” Montreuil told us.

“Each of the families is going to need help with housing, furniture, and figuring out how to get around in the community. We also have several people who speak Arabic who’ve offered translation services.

“There are all kinds of ways to help.”

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