Help a Syrian Family in Need

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Jasmine, Essam and Anna live in a war ravaged area of Aleppo Syria with their mom Abeer and dad Ahmed, my uncle. (names have been changed to protect their identity) 

They have no heat, little food and worry for their lives every day. Bullets have shattered their windows, bombs have exploded nearby and people have been murdered in front of their home.Ahmed hasn't been able to work for over a year and his children can't go to school. Their city is at the epicenter of the violence that has killed more than 44,000 Syrians since the civil war began nearly 2 years ago.

We are asking for your help in providing them with food, shelter and medicine. My father has been their sole source of financial support for the last year but he can't keep up with the escalating costs. Our hope is that we can raise enough money to keep them fed, safe and healthy while we work with the immigration authorities to allow them return to Canada. My uncle lived and worked in Canada and became a permanent resident, but returned to Syria to care for his ailing mother. 

I visited my family in Syria three years ago and wrote about the journey in a book titled Rowed Trip: From Scotland to Syria by Oar. I was so taken by the country and the people that it inspired another book idea, and I planned to return to Syria with my husband and infant son to research the history of the olive tree. But by then the civil war had taken hold of the country and it was too dangerous. Since then this war has claimed tens of thousands of innocent lives and ruined millions. Through this project we hope to rescue one family from the daily atrocities and give their children a future of hope and opportunity.

 

We raised $2,500 in the first 36 hours of our campaign and then were shut down

Our fundraising campaign began with a donation page on Indiegogo, the dot-com company made famous for being the platform used to raise funds for a bullied bus monitor in New York. Initially, our efforts exceeded our wildest expectations, and we raised over $2500 within 36 hours of launching the campaign. It seemed very likely we would reach our target of $10,000.

Everything we had learned about online fundraising indicated that the first two days are the most crucial to achieve the momentum required to create a buzz. We received numerous emails from generous people. They reposted our request through Facebook, Twitter, Email and newsletters. We had the buzz, and donations were pouring in. Then our campaign webpage disappeared.

Indiegogo emailed to say because our campaign mentioned Syria, it had been flagged and would be shut down indefinitely while they investigated to ensure we were in compliance with US sanctions against Syria. They have since confirmed that our campaign is in compliance with US sanctions but it is still frozen pending approval from their bank. The campaign has been frozen for over 2 weeks but they've assured me that the contributed money will eventually be released to help our Syrian family or it will be returned to the generous donors.

This campaign has shown me just how much people care and I'm humbled and grateful for the incredible display of generosity. I also want to thank you for the huge outpouring of support for this blip in our fundraising efforts. Our story has been covered by CBC's As it Happens, the National Post, Sun Media and the Huffinton Post. If we were raising funds for my German family or Colin's relatives in Scotland, there would be no problem. This issue only exists because my family is Syrian.

Since this story has come out, the founder of the Canadian crowdsourcing site FundRazr has contacted us and set up a new campaign for us. Thanks to Daryl Hatton we've just relauched our crowdsourcing campaign with FundRazr. Contributions can also be made by cheque or direct deposit.

 

Thank you, Julie  

You can contribute by sending a cheque, making a deposit at any Scotiabank or online by credit card or paypal.

 

Paypal or credit card:

 

Cheque:

Julie Angus

P.O. Box 1644

Comox, BC

V9M-8A2

 

Bank deposit:

A bank account has been set up with Scotiabank to collect contributions. It is set up in my name and a deposit can be made at any Scotiabank as long as you provide them with the account name and number.

Account name: Julie Angus

Account number 108500289728