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Iftikar and Khodor (middle two adults in this photo) are siblings who became refugees after they had to flee Syria in 2011.

Iftikar’s family arrived in Canada in December 2016 as a BVOR sponsorship. They arrived with a few suitcases, the clothes on their backs, and a can-do attitude. They were sponsored by a community group that had formed to sponsor two Syrian families.

The family’s accomplishments since arriving have been many and they are still working hard to make their dreams come true:
-before his death on August 28, 2022, her husband had a full-time job with benefits for three years, (obit)
-she works part-time and is finishing her high school diploma part-time,
-her adult son graduated and has a full-time job with benefits,
-the two younger children are in school full-time,
-they bought their first Canadian house in Summer 2020,
-she volunteers on the Portage Local Immigration Partnership Program committee, is a board member with the Portage Learning and Literacy Centre, and volunteers at other events in town,
-Ifitkar (and her two younger children) became a Canadian Citizen in March!
-the older son has passed his Citizenship test and is awaiting his ceremony!
-they’ve saved $15 000 to go towards the applications of more of their relatives, and
-they have been working very hard to help her brother’s family settle in Canada.

Her eldest brother’s family arrived in December 2021, and since then:
-they are all in school on a part-time or full-time basis learning English and other subjects as they can, working every day to learn more English words and grammar,
-her brother, sister-in-law, and and both teenage sons have passed their written driver’s test (it is available in Arabic),
-her brother worked casually laying paving stones for decks, etc. this past summer and teaches some local boys Arabic every week,
-the two teenage boys started working at Sobey’s part-time after being in Canada only 4 months,
-her sister-in-law volunteered a few times in the kitchen at the Herman Prior Centre this past summer,
-they’ve all volunteered in the community in some way, including making perogies for a Ukrainian fundraiser, marched for peace for Ukraine on the one month anniversary of the Russian invasion, and the teenagers at the Portage Potato Festival, and
-they all dream up ways to help facilitate their family members’ sponsorship applications.