Syrian Refugee Initiative
During the fall of 2014, the world was faced with an enourmous refugee crisis resulting from the ongoing civil war in Syria.  The Rotary Club of Ottawa decided it must do its part to help deal with the crisis.  To do so, the club partnered with the Anglican church, Christ Church Cathedral, and received help from two other Rotary clubs in Ottawa.  Fundraising was the initial priority and together the partners raised over $67,000 which included two generous contributions of $7,500 from each of the Rotary Clubs of South Ottawa and Nepean-Kanata and a $10,000 contribution from our own club.  Fundraising was followed by an intense period of preparation for the arrival of our refugees including learning what was involved, filing the necessary paperwork and preparing a furnished house for the eventual arrival of a family.
After much organizational and fundraising work on the part of many people, our efforts were rewarded on February 18th 2015 with the arrival of our refugee family, the Othmans – two adults and four young children.  From that point on, the organizational preparation that had been done, along with the ongoing enthusiasm of many Rotary/CCC volunteers combined to ensure that the Othmans were properly housed, had their adaptation and health concerns dealt with; children enrolled in school; and parents in ESL classes. Although our financial support for the family ended in February 2017, the support effort is ongoing with great optimism that this family will be successful in integrating into Canadian society and become self supporting.  In many ways, the support for the refugee initiative has been the signature project for the club over the past year.
As our current family settles in to life in Canada, we now await the arrival of a second Syrian refugee family.  An application has been made and is being processed by the government.