Group raising money to help Syrian refugees coming to P.E.I.

Drake Lowthers
Published on November 27, 2015

A man kisses his child on a beach after crossing the Aegean sea in a dinghy with other refugees and migrants from Turkey to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015.

©AP Photo/Santi Palacios

Bonnie Stewart first got involved with the Syrian refugee campaign after seeing a photo circulated on the Internet of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned while fleeing from Turkey.

The photo hit home as she has two little kids herself, she said.

“I wanted to see what a community could do in response to the refugee crisis and it’s been a good start.”

Under the umbrella of TrinityClifton United Church in Charlottetown, concerned individuals are working together to raise $100,000 to bring four Syrian families to Charlottetown.

Philip Whittaker, project co-ordinator, said the group has an application currently in process for a family of eight.

RELATED: P.E.I. set to welcome 250 Syrian refugees

That family is living in a refugee camp in Lebanon, where they have spent the last two years living in horrific conditions, he said.

“You have to have a minimum of $30,000 per family for their first year here and that covers everything from transportation, rent, food and clothing.”

Under the blended visa program, there is funding available through the federal government to cover 50 per cent of the family’s first year here.

To tap into a different network of contributors, they decided to create a GoFundMe campaign, in efforts to raise $25,000 Stewart said.

GoFundMe is a crowdfunding platform allowing people to raise money online.

In the first week of the campaign, it has raised $8,400.

“It’s been incredibly successful. Of the first $5,000, a third of the donations were from outside of P.E.I.”