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North Durham Refugee Reunification collecting donations to help Syrian family

COURTNEY McCLURE, for The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: North Durham Refugee Reunification group (NDRR) is working to bring a Syrian family over from Lebanon to Uxbridge, Ontario.

The founder of the group is Linda van Andel. She is also involved with the Port Perry Refugee Reunification group.

The name North Durham Refugee Reunification group was picked because “North Durham” sounded more inclusive rather than “Uxbridge”. The NDDR has been around for a few months. Although Ms. van Andel didn’t specify when it was founded, she said it has been around for less than a year.

Ms. van Andel said the family they’re helping is a Syrian family living in Lebanon. This is the first family that the NDRR, specifically, is helping. According to Ms. van Andel, she has been involved in helping families with similar circumstances, but they were in the Oshawa area. She said there are four applications

involved for this family. The family has 10 members. The application process is made up of a few components.

Fundraising for the family is one component, another is extracting the story of the family; this is a called a case narrative. The NDRR has to make up a settlement plan for the family, along with other documents.

Part of the reunification process involves an application and an interview of each of the family members. This means the group documents the families experience moving from Syria to Lebanon.

Ms. van Andel has done Zoom calls with the family living in Lebanon. She said the family is currently living in a tent and the mother of the family have ongoing health concerns.

She said the family has to sign an agreement that they won’t work while they’re living in Lebanon. According to Ms. van Andel, this is because Lebanon is a poor country and has a high number of refugees.

The NDRR is working with Hope Christian Reformed Church of Port Perry. Hope Church is affiliated with a sponsorship agreement holder called World Renew.

There is a Syrian couple who have lived in Uxbridge for a few years. According to Ms. van Andel, this couple has been helping the Syrian family living in Lebanon for many years.

Ms. van Andel said she heard connected with the couple living in Uxbridge, and they decided to work together to help the family living in Lebanon.

World Renew assisted the NDRR to come up with a budget to sponsor this family. According to Ms. van Andel, they have come up with a figure of $93,000 dollars. So, the NDRR and World Renew will need to fundraise this amount, with the help of the community.

Donations are accepted via e-transfer to, or you can write send a cheque, addressed to Hope Church including Uxbridge sponsorship. You can also donate online at Canada Helps; the web address is included on the NDRR’s Facebook page. For more information regarding donations, people are asked to visit the North Durham Refugee Reunification Facebook page.

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