It’s been a long journey, however the end could be in sight for the North Shore Refugee Settlement Group.
Margaret Boyle, co-chairperson of the group with Remi Lemoine, is optimistic a family will soon be making its way to Tatamagouche.
“We had applied last June (2016) and we were told it could be 18 months or more,” said Boyle. “Our family has had their interview in Turkey, as well as their physicals, and all came back well. All their boxes are checked. We’re hoping it’s not too much longer now.”
Boyle said housing with the Tatamagouche Centre is still in place for when the family arrives. The Haj Mousa family consists of parents Sally and Rami, and their three children – Aslan, who will turn 10 soon, his sister nine-year-old Sileen, and brother Shan, 6.
“We’re hoping they’ll be here this winter,” said Boyle.
When the group first started, no one thought it would be such a long process, according to Boyle. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 50,000 refugees would be brought into Canada, and the group was “motivated to come together for this project,” said Boyle.
But what the group didn’t know was that most were government-sponsored refugees, without community involvement.
“After those 50,000 were brought in, it seemed things didn’t move as quickly. It was an ongoing struggle – with the community and even our members. Some lost sight of the project and assumed we failed in bringing a family here.
“But we always knew it would be good to have a family join us here. We know they’re struggling more on their end, but the family is still doing well. They’ve survived,” said Boyle.
The co-chairperson said the Haj Mousa family has a relative working with ISANS in Halifax, so they’ve been able to keep in touch with the family while waiting.
Boyle said when the family arrives, they’ll concentrate on their English skills, while getting them ready for employment.