Refugee Sponsorship of the Zaki Family
DISASTER RELIEF: All donations processed as they are given.
On August 25, 2020 Saba Sahar’s car arrived as usual, at 7 a.m., at the back gate of her home in Kabul, Afghanistan, with 3 bodyguards, to take her to work. Ms. Sahar was acting Deputy Commander of Security and Director of Human Rights at the Ministry of Interior of Afghanistan, a well-known figure in the field of cinema, and an activist for the protection of womens’ rights. Shortly after leaving her home that morning, with her 4 year old daughter beside her, her car was attacked by several gunmen, who wounded 2 of her bodyguards, and shot her 4 times in the abdomen. Here is the account from one media outlet: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-54084848
Ms. Sahar was severely wounded, but survived her injuries following multiple operations, and eventually was transferred to Bagram Hospital at the U.S. run Bagram Air Force base. Meanwhile, her family continued to receive anonymous threats against their lives. At Bagram, Saba’s nurse was a young man who soon returned home to the U.S. and related Saba’s story to his Aunt Sue. Sue knew that the family had to flee Afghanistan to save their lives, and she began to raise funds from among her family and contacts, including using this Facebook Go-Fund-Me page, which includes pictures: https://www.facebook.com/savingsabasahar.
Sue’s financial help made it possible for the family to flee to nearby Tajikistan, where they have been granted refugee status. Meanwhile, finding that the U.S. was not accepting refugee applications, Sue’s research led her to Canada, where eventually she was connected with our group, The Refugee Sponsorship Committee of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.
Our group has been active since 2014, and has successfully raised all the necessary funds, and our congregation of just 120 members settled 3 refugee families in Peterborough. When our sponsorship team heard the story you have just read, we could not say “no” to this family’s needs. Sponsorship involves supporting the family financially for one year and helping them get established in Canada in numerous ways, such as learning English, preparing for employment, receiving needed medical care, supporting the children’s education, understanding Canadian culture, etc. Our team of Settlement Volunteers meets weekly, and works very closely with the family.
Our application for sponsorship has been approved by the Canadian government, and the family await vetting overseas by the Canadian consulate. Sue has raised 3/4 of the funds required for this sponsorship and has transferred those funds to us, but we still need another $15,000 U.S. to carry off the sponsorship. Here we have set our goal for $10,000 U.S. In today’s world, it is easy to feel helpless in the face of so much need. This sponsorship is for us a way to do something personal. We hope you feel moved to be a part of it.
Insulated Coveralls for the Homeless
At Grenfell Ministries we are a Unitarian Universalist outreach in Hamilton, Ontario.
Due to assistance from Cantex Distribution (a company in Niagara) we have been able to secure a really great deal on quilted, insulated coveralls and instead of paying $250 a pair we are able to pay $40 a pair. With four thousand dollars we can put 100 of these on the street for folks suffering this winter with homelessness. We have already place 25 into circulation and have ordered 30 more.
Grenfell Ministries, a Unitarian Universalist faith-based Ministry that aims to provide support to marginalized communities through programming that focuses on seniors, youth, those experiencing homelessness folks who use substances, and those who are or were formerly incarcerated. We serve with integrity, compassion and promote individuality and self-empowerment. We are committed to building communities through advocacy and activism.
We are a peer-run, peer-led organization that strives to improve the quality of life for those we serve on their terms. In solidarity, we offer organized voices of lived experience in the hopes of encouraging programming, policy adaptation and to reduce stigma and discrimination. We collaborate with various organizations and services to assist folks with meeting their needs and offer grief support to families who have lost loved ones to the overdose epidemic on an individual and group basis.
Our projects have received funding in part by the Fund for Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility, United Way Phase 2 and Phase 3 Funding for COVID-19 pandemic response and the Hamilton Community Foundation.