For Immediate Release
MARCH 19, 2019
SAINT JOHN – A group of donors and supporters joined Reham Abazid Tuesday to celebrate a major milestone in their efforts to make her dream of bringing her extended family to Saint John a reality.
“I love Saint John, it is my home,” Reham told the crowd that gathered at Tuck Interiors, on Grannan Street. “This is the city that has given me and my family a new life. The only thing that is missing are my parents, and my brothers.”
The volunteer committee, comprised of community members, recognizes the incredible generosity of local small businesses and individuals who have already contributed nearly two-thirds of the $30,000 needed to bring Reham’s family here. A full list of donors to date is attached.
“Our committee has been so moved by the willingness of our friends and colleagues to give to this cause,” says fundraising committee members Kate Wallace, Mel Norton and Judith Mackin. “It confirms what we already know about the compassion of Saint Johners. And it really speaks to our sense of responsibility and involvement in a far bigger story around refugees and immigration.”
In the tradition of wonderful Syrian hospitality, Reham served the crowd homemade mamul, an Arab pastry filled with dates and nuts, while Rogue Coffee donated coffee and tea.
FUNDRAISING NEXT STEPS
The event was the official launch of a crowdfunding campaign for the final $10,000. We encourage community members to pursue their own fundraising ideas in support of this very worthwhile cause.
Donors can give online at : https://www.gofundme.com/vz5gm-one-family-together-again.
Or click below to donate here>>
Reham arrived in Saint John in 2015, one of thousands of Syrians displaced by her country’s ongoing war. Since then, she has mastered English and secured full-time employment at the YMCA as a translator, helping other newcomers. Her husband, Mohammad, works full-time as a mechanic for Downey Ford. Her children, Haidar, 9, and Rous, 5, are thriving at École Samuel-de-Champlain.
Reham is a tireless volunteer. She organized sales of Syrian food to support refugees in Jordan. She and other Syrian women cooked for Outflow, feeding local people experiencing homelessness. Reham is working on a play, to share the story of the Syrian war with Canadians. In 2017, she was awarded the YMCA Peace Medal for her contributions.
Reham loves Saint John, and her new life here. All that’s missing is her family.
Reham’s story is a local chapter in a broader, ongoing national story. Thousands of Canadians have been swept into a grand humanitarian effort to welcome and settle more than 30,000 Syrian newcomers.
The Syrian war can seem very far away, but its impacts resonate all the way to Saint John. Our committee believes we have a responsibility to respond, by giving with our hearts, but also by sharing our prosperity. As Saint John focuses on growth, we need to welcome and retain this sort of ambitious, civic-minded young family. They are necessary to Saint John’s future as a diverse, inclusive city.
Arif & Sally Bungash
Ross & Krista Galbraith
Pannell Family Foundation
Holly & Ken Singh
Hemmings House Pictures
Peggy Bown Dentistry
Kate Wallace & Richard Cassidy
John & Gill Wallace
Mel Norton & Stephanie Bell
Scott & Tammy Lewis
Don & Patti Darling
The Feel Good Store
Janet Scott & Mark Leger
Brunch Fundraiser (Nicola Carter, Mark Rogers, Jennifer Gibson Wilson & Randy Wilson, Steve & Anne Ryan, Mike & Mary Ellen Costello, Wendy & John Lockett)
David Flagel & Deborah Lawrence
Complete Balance Physiotherapy
Jeff & Sophie McAloon
HELPERS, UP TO $249
Jennifer Shea & David Gamble
Jessica Vihvelin & Jamie McConnell
Peter Smit, happinez
Thanks also to RiverCross Church, which has partnered with our committee. RiverCross is issuing all tax receipts for donations.