Nova Scotia

Syrian refugee sponsorship group raises $27K in little over a month

Crichton Park Friends of Refugees, one of the newest group to privately sponsor Syrians in Nova Scotia, has raised $27,000 in a little over a month.

Crichton Park Friends of Refugees is one of more than 100 private sponsorship groups in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia neighbourhood steps up to help refugees


5 years ago
Crichton Park Friends of Refugees in Dartmouth raises $27,000 in a little over a month to sponsor a Syrian refugee family 1:59

Private groups looking to sponsor Syrian refugees are sprouting up around Nova Scotia and now number more than 100 across the province.

Crichton Park Friends of Refugees in Dartmouth is one of the newest and has raised $27,000 in a little over a month.

"This whole thing has been organic," said Deborah Woolway, chairwoman of the group. 

"Initially there was a little, 'Gosh can we do this?' You know there's a lot of money to raise and it's getting on to Christmas and we sent out a few feelers, and then one coffee and muffin date and that was it, we were off to the races."

Crichton Park Friends of Refugees is working closely with Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia.

Nabiah Atallah, manager of communications and outreach at ISANS, said there are now more than 100 private sponsorship groups working on bringing Syrian refugee families to Nova Scotia.

"There is a special thing about private refugee sponsorship, which is that the family that is sponsored comes in with a group of Canadian friends. They start off with a group of friends in the community," said Atallah.

History of helping

Carole MacLean is one of the volunteers involved in the Crichton Park Friend of Refugees. She said her neighbourhood is full of people with many skills to pass along to refugees once they arrive.

The neighbourhood put those skills to work in the past. In the 1990s, they helped bring in children from Belarus suffering from radiation exposure as a result of the Chernobyl explosion.

Mark Ring and his family brought over a little girl, Christina.

"We brought one over and another family said, 'we can do that,' and all of a sudden we had our own little group here in the neighbourhood doing this," said Ring.

Of course, bringing a Syrian family over and helping their transition to a new life is even bigger.

Woolway said her group is ready for the task and needs to raise just $3,000 more before making their formal application.

She remembers how sad she felt watching those first pictures of refugees escaping in boats too small and waters far too rough.

"It's a feeling of being helpless, and thinking, I can't do anything and then I thought, you know what: we can do something," said Woolway.


World champion curler Colleen Jones has been reporting with CBC News for nearly three decades. Follow her on Twitter @cbccolleenjones.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?