By Angelica Ingram
Published Sept. 6 2016
The Haliburton Refugee Sponsorship Committee has announced the Wiso family will be arriving to the area on Monday Sept. 19.
The family of refugees is comprised of two parents and nine children and are originally from Syria according to a media release the committee issued last week.
News of the family’s arrival was announced on Sept. 1 and was welcome by the committee who has been working for the past 11 months to fundraise prepare and plan for them. “We were beginning to get worried” committee spokesperson David Barker said in an interview.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the Wiso family to the Haliburton Highlands. The community has been enthusiastically anticipating their arrival” he said in the release.
Barker told the Echo the committee is asking the public to give the family some privacy and time to settle into their life in the Highlands.
While he appreciates the outpouring of love and generosity the community has exhibited thus far everyone needs to be mindful of the difficulties the family may have endured.
“We don’t know what they’ve gone through we have no idea” he said. “We don’t know what kind of terrors they’ve been through whether they’re suffering post traumatic syndrome or whether they’re happy and content. We need to give them a little space.”
The committee is also anticipating the possibility of cultural and language differences and wants to give the Wisos time to adapt.
“Their No. 1 task is to learn English and as of last count we have 24 volunteers ready to teach them English” he said. “The amount of people that have put an enormous amount of work in getting ready for this family is just amazing.”
Barker is hopeful that a welcome event will be hosted at some point in the future.
The refugee committee has been working through the Anglican United Refugee Alliance (AURA) and has fundraised a significant amount of money to help support the family during their time of transition. Barker said the group is extremely grateful for everyone’s support and help.
“It’s falling together because so many people have done so much work” he said. “It’s been wonderful the upwelling of support from the community.”