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B.C. government creates $1 million fund for Syrian refugees

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DH Vancouver Staff Sep 08, 2015 12:44 pm

The B.C. government announced they have set aside a $1 million “readiness fund” to help refugees fleeing war-torn Syria to settle in the province.

They will be working closely with settlement agencies, community groups, and private sponsors to distribute the funds properly. It’s a one-time investment that’s meant to enhance existing refugee programs and private sponsors who are bringing these people to B.C.

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“As we prepare to receive increased numbers of refugees here in B.C., we need to review our capacity and infrastructure to support their future integration into this province,” said CEO of Immigrant Services of BC Patricia Woroch in a statement.

“The groundswell of interest in the Syrian refugee crisis by British Columbians over the past week has been both remarkable and inspiring.”

Funds will be allocated in the following ways:

  • Trauma counselling
  • “Groups of five” private citizenship sponsorships
  • Community-level supports
  • Foreign credential recognition so Syrian refugees can work sooner
  • Funds for businesses to employ, train and mentor refugees

Syrian refugees have been receiving more media attention recently after a toddler’s body washed up on the shores of Turkey. His family was fleeing Syria when their boat capsized.

Three-year-old Alan Kurdi, along with his five-year-old brother Galib and their mother Reham all drowned. Their father, Abdullah, survived.

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Recently Mayor Gregor Robertson said he wants Vancouver to become a safe haven for Syrian refugees and had strong words for the federal government.

“Vancouver must continue to expand upon the steps we are taking to be a welcoming city, but it’s clear that the Government of Canada has not been meeting our international obligations in this continuing humanitarian crisis,” he said in a statement.

Turkey is one of the main spots for Syrian refugees to land, with over 1.8 million of them making the country their new home. One million refugees have fled to Lebanon and another 600,000 to Jordan.

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DH Vancouver Staff
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