Touring Wesleys Reception House

The United Nations refugee agency is pressuring our country to help resettle more of the 100,000 people displaced by the war in Syria. So far Canada has agreed to take in 1300 people by the end of this year. This comes as Hamilton’s Wesley Urban Ministries is well on its way to providing smooth transitions for the roughly 300 government-sponsored refugees that come to the city each year.“It’s war. There’s nothing there. There’s nothing there.”25 year old Farooq Kaml had been living in Egypt for the last nine years after his family fled Iraq due to war. While he says they had peace in Egypt, they had no rights.“I came to Canada because it’s a good country. I have rights here and it’s more secure and more quiet.”Along with his parents, brothers and sisters, Kaml has now been living at Wesley Urban Ministries’ new Reception House for the last month as a government-sponsored refugee. He hopes to one day study computer sciences — but first, the family is looking for a permanent home, and Wesley’s Reception House program is helping them prepare for life in Canada.Executive director Daljit Garry says up to 35 people can live at the reception house at a time.“It’s a home-like environment for them. There’s common lounge space, eating areas and then they have their rooms.”Before it opened in October, the program was run out of hotel rooms. This new site is making a difference by allowing the centre to help build relationships.“It also allows us to bring in those connections for them so settlement workers can come on site. We have a health clinic within the space.”Families typically stay at the centre for weeks, but Wesley’s services continue once they’ve found permanent homes. And after three years of living in Canada, refugees like Kaml can apply to become citizens.It’s important to note these are not refugees making claims; only government-sponsored refugees who were mostly living in camps can stay at the centre. About 300 are placed at Wesley each year. For more information just go to the Wesley Urban Ministries website.

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