Tuesday, 22 December 2015

More than lip service.

Karl sent Katia and I the email below. 

Karl joined Pell & Bales a few weeks after me in 1996. He's one of those people who's had a huge influence on my career. He now runs a fundraising agency in Canada and as you will see when you read his email, he and his staff are doing an incredible thing. 

When the day to day bullshit is getting a bit much, I think of people like Karl and remember why I do what I do. He's incredible, his staff seem to be as incredible as he is. I hope you can spare a few quid and help him and the team out. Anyway, please read his email. Please donate. And please share his story.


Hi Katia and Paul

I don’t usual make requests like this but this is an exception.

I would like to ask if you would consider helping our efforts to sponsor and support a Syrian refugee family to come and live in Canada.

I am sure you have been following the situation unfolding in Syria with hundreds of thousands of families having to flee their homes to seek safety.

We often feel powerless to help in these situations but as a group of people within our company we have decided that we wanted to take action, beyond expressing sympathy or making a donation, to help the families caught up in this tragedy.

Canada is a unique country and one of the great things it does is to allow individuals to privately sponsor refuges to come and live in Canada and gain citizenship though what is called a private sponsorship program. This allows individuals already in Canada to privately sponsor a refugee family, but they have to also take full responsibility for the family for the first 12 months of their stay in Canada. This responsibility is for both emotional and financial needs and includes welcoming and preparing them for life in Canada as well as taking financial responsibility for all their accommodation and living expenses for the first year.

We therefore decided a couple of months ago that we would find and sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come and live in Canada. The reasons we have chosen to do this are varied but as a relatively new immigrant to Canada I have experienced firsthand the opportunities that Canada offers and it seems right to look at how this could be extended to other people who are in a less advantageous situation.

As we have found out it is not an easy or fast process to find and privately sponsor a refugee family. However after plenty of research and linking up with one of the non-profit organisations that have responsibility for identifying potential refugee families eligible for the program  we have now found a family to sponsor.

They are a small family of a mum and dad with two small children agreed 3 and 1 years old. The father had refused to join the Syrian Army and the family has unfortunately experienced the detention, interrogation and killing of close family members and friends. Their house was burnt down and they fled to Lebanon in 2012, but even there they have been persecuted by individuals associated with the current Syrian Government and are now seeking somewhere that can provide safety and security to bring up their children - this is the family we will be sponsoring to come to Canada.

The family have been verified as refuges by the UNHCR and have passed the Canadian Government’s security clearance process and have been given permission to leave.

We are expecting them to arrive in Canada anytime between the end of this month and February and so we are busy organising and preparing for this.

To provide for a refugee family in Canada for 12 months costs around $27,000 and we are trying to raise as much of this amount as possible so that we can properly fund the accommodation, food and living expenses that the family will need in their first year here. In addition we also want to raise enough money to help them with the money for their airfare from Lebanon to Canada if they are not able to get on one of the flights being organised by the Canadian government.

We are fully committed to this project and to funding all the costs associated with sponsoring this family from within our staff team and the company, but we would also like to ask our colleagues, family and friends to also consider supporting what we are doing. 

It would be great if you could show your support by making a donation to help our efforts. 

To facilitate this we have set up a page on our company website called ‘’Project Welcome’’ where you can make a donation through PayPal.

On this page we are also providing more information on what we are doing and are running a short blog on our experience of going through the process of finding and welcoming a refugee family to Canada. We will be posting regular updates, especially when the family arrives, so everyone can keep up to date on our efforts and you will be able to see what impact your support has made to this refugee family as they embark on their new life in Canada.

To donate and read more about our project please follow the link onto our webpage.  

Any donation you can make would be greatly appreciated and will go directly to support the family we are sponsoring.

Let me know if you want any more information on what we are doing and it would be great if you could help.

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