Refugees bound for Sudbury endured 'heart-wrenching' trials

A group in Sudbury, Ont. that's sponsoring 14 refugees has learned the "heartbreaking" stories that led the families to flee their home countries.

Sudbury sponsorship group says there's lots of work still to be done to prepare for two refugee families

Claire Zuliani is vice chair of Sudbury Hope Project, a group working to bring two refugee families to Sudbury, Ont.

A group in Sudbury, Ont. that's sponsoring 14 refugees has learned the "heartbreaking" stories that led the families to flee their home countries. 

Sudbury Project Hope expects two families of seven to arrive by late February or early March. 

Both families have experienced terrible conditions, and fled for fear of their lives, said Claire Zuliani, the vice chair of Sudbury Project Hope.

"When we read their profiles it was just very heart-wrenching to see what both of these families were enduring for so many years," she said. 

Zuliani said one family, from Syria, tried to stay at home for as long as they could, but the violence all around forced them to leave.

"The father said that their children were just so fearful of daily life that he had no choice," said Zuliani. 

The second family is from Iraq. The family left to escape persecution by ISIS, Zuliani said.

"They took all [the father's] possessions, they evicted him from his home, they burnt his shop," she said. 

Sponsors have 'desire to make a difference'

Sudbury Project Hope has a lot of work to do before the families arrive in a few months time, she said.

The group is still collecting financial donations, and searching for good, affordable, long-term homes for the families.

Zuliani said once the family arrives the group will also help the families with emotional support, and tasks such as registering the children for school. 

"So there's a lot of work to do, but we have a large committee and we have the ambition and the desire to make a difference," she said. 


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