Aleksa Harkness
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Hello Friends of the James Bay Refugee Initiative

When you last heard from us it was with a note from Leyla in which she spoke about loving her new life in Victoria, about her gratitude for the ways in which she has been cared for and supported, and the loneliness she experiences living in Victoria when her husband and family are so far away. With that in mind we have begun the work necessary to sponsor Leyla’s husband, Ahmad; a move we see as a continuation of our sponsorship of Leyla.

We are working with the Anglican Diocese as our Sponsorship Agreement Holder and have a group of five on the JBRI 2.0 steering committeefour members of the original group and a new member who comes with skills that will be helpful for us as we work towards bringing Ahmad to Victoria. Steve works for the federal government, is familiar with the Middle East, and has experience working with Internally Displaced Persons as part of a UN mission.  And more importantly, Steve has a huge heart and wants very much to be part of this process.

Ahmad is eager to join Leyla in Victoria and start their new life together here.  To that end, he is taking English lessons at the end of his days working as an embryologist. Leyla dreams of Ahmad’s arrival, of their making a future here and of one day having a baby girl with dark curly hair and my blue eyes…I thought we’d save the genetics lesson for another time!

Fund raising is part of what we will be about, of course, but it will be an easier task because there is still a positive balance in the JBRI account, largely because Leyla is a very good money manager and because she found a full time job before her first year was up.

As before, donations can be made through the church office. If you wish to make a donation you may do so by mailing or dropping off a cheque made out to James Bay United Church at the church office at 511 Michigan Victoria V8V 1S1 (with “refugee sponsorship” in the memo line). If the church is closed there is a secure mailbox by the side door.

Or you might want to make an online donation through CHIMP.

All donations over $10 will receive a tax receipt and 100% of donated funds will be used towards the work of the James Bay Refugee Initiative.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in being part of the ongoing work of the James Bay Refugee Initiative, please email me.  Likewise, if you’d rather not receive emails from the JBRI, just let me know.

With gratitude for the ways you have been instrumental in the work that led to Leyla’s arrival in Canada.

Aleksa, for the James Bay Refugee Initiative Steering Committee