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Friday, July 29, 2011

Iraq Refugees in Thornbury

Blue Mountains | by Manny Paiva  

Beaver Valley Open Door Group welcomes Iraqi family to Thornbury.

An Iraqi family is now living in Thornbury.

The Al Badri family was picked up at the Toronto airport on Thursday by the Beaver Valley Open Door refugee sponsorship group.

They are a family of five -- a mom, dad and three children -- two boys ages 17 and 15 and a girl aged 10.

Member Lloyd Davis was one of 30 people who took a school bus to pick up the family at Pearson airport.

He tells Bayshore Broadcasting News they don't know too much about the family -- just what the federal government put on two pages.

Davis says the family faced religious persecution and escaped to a refugee camp in Syria before deciding to move to Canada.

The group will now cover the families bills for the next year to help them start a new life -- and it will cost over 30 thousand dollars.

This is the second family rescued to Thornbury.

Last year, a family from the Congo moved to Thornbury -- and Davis tells us they now have their own jobs and live in Toronto.

He says they continue to visit Thornbury every month and stay in touch with local residents.

Davis says their small group came up with the idea to help families whose lives have been threatened -- and they are thrilled to be making a difference.

It actually seems a part of Thornbury's history as a number of Vietnamese boat people moved here in the 1970's -- and some continue to live in the community.

Davis says their small group does all of the fundraising and all of the work at the home and with the family.

The house was donated by Melinda Burke after her mother passed away.

Davis says not only will they feed and clothe the family -- but they will also teach them english -- and open a bank account for them and teach them the banking system.

The students will attend school in Meaford and Thornbury in September and they will try to find work for the parents locally.

Davis says the community has rallied behind their cause and the families -- in fact, he says they have to control the amount of visitors they receive.

Davis says it is their hope the family continues to live in the community in a new home after the year runs out -- so the group can help the next refugee family.

The group is always looking for volunteers and hopes to raise more money through fundraising events and private donations.

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