Yukon Cares waits for more Syrian refugees

Yukon Cares, the organization that co-sponsored a family of Syrian refugees to move to Whitehorse, is waiting to hear whether another family can come north.

'We are crossing our fingers' for another family, says organizer Raquel De Queiroz

The Aarafats, a family of 11 who fled the civil war in Syria, arrived in Whitehorse in January, co-sponsored by Yukon Cares. The organization is waiting to hear whether it can bring a second family to Yukon. (Sandi Coleman/CBC)

Yukon Cares, the volunteer organization that co-sponsored a family of Syrians to move to Whitehorse this past winter, is anxiously waiting to hear whether it can host more refugees.

"We are crossing our fingers that maybe we will get another family," Raquel De Queiroz of Yukon Cares told CBC's A New Day.

De Queiroz said her organization notified the federal government this week that it was ready to accept another family, under the program that sees Ottawa pay half the costs, and private organizations (such as Yukon Cares) cover the rest. 

"Another list came out of families that were available for sponsorship through that program, so we replied saying that we could take one of them, but we haven't heard back."

De Queiroz said Yukon Cares does not yet have the necessary funds, but she's confident the money can be raised in time.   

"It would take six months before we would need the money, so I think that in that period, we could organize our fundraisers to get the money for family number two, once we hear they are indeed coming."

De Queiroz said Yukon Cares is also working to bring another man to Whitehorse — a relative of the Aarafats, the family that arrived in Whitehorse earlier this year. The man is now living in Lebanon, and De Queiroz said the goal is to reunite him with his family.

Aarafat family 'doing wonderful'

De Queiroz said so far things have been "quite smooth" for the 11-member Aarafat family, two months after their arrival in Yukon.

"They're doing wonderful. The weather has been no challenge for them at all. We've been lucky. I think this is especially for them," referring to the unusually mild conditions this year.

"It seems like nature is just giving them a wonderful welcome, along with the rest of the community."

She said all the school-age children are in class and "loving it," and the older family members are also learning some functional English.

"They're making fast progress. It's quite incredible to watch," she said.

"My Arabic has also improved!"




  • An earlier version of this story misspelled Aarafat as Arafat.
    Apr 11, 2016 2:12 PM CT

with files from A New Day


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