Refugee families calling Sioux Lookout home
Tim Brody - Editor
Thanks to the efforts of the Galatians 6:10 Refugee Sponsorship Group, made up of members of local churches in Sioux Lookout, a refugee family from Pakistan now calls Sioux Lookout home.
Iftikhar Masih, his wife Nazia Anwae, and their five-year-old son arrived in the community on April 30.
Thanks to the efforts of the sponsorship group, they have found employment in the community, accommodations, and their son is enrolled in school.
The sponsorship group will be welcoming the second family they are sponsoring to town on July 26.
Mehran Serosh and his wife Sharmeen, along with their daughters, five and 10 years of age, are also refugees from Pakistan.
Both families had fled to Bangkok, Thailand due to religious persecution.
Sponsorship group member Merle Burkholder said Masih and Anwae are thrilled to be in Sioux Lookout, “They say they wonder sometimes if they’re dreaming and are afraid they’re going to wake up and find out it’s not real. They’re really enjoying Sioux Lookout.”
He said Mehran, Sharmeen and their daughters are looking forward to making Sioux Lookout home.
“They are really excited. It’s been almost three years since we started the application for them. It’s been a long time and they are really excited about coming,” Burkholder said.
The sponsorship group is looking for small appliances and kitchen utensils for Mehran, Sharmeen and their daughters.
Anyone who can help out is asked to call Burkholder at 737-2238.
“If there’s people that would like to help with taking them to appointments or having them over for a meal, taking them out for coffee, they’re going to need friends and relationships in the community,” Burkholder added.
Burkholder explained how the two families came to the attention of the sponsorship group, “John (Bastone) is the area representative for the Voice of the Martyrs organization and Mehran, he was in contact with Voice of the Martyrs, so that’s how we became aware of him. The second family, my wife (Edith) has a nephew who lives in Thailand and when they found out we were sponsoring a family; they work with some of the asylum seekers that are in Bangkok, especially from Pakistan and they knew the second family and so we decided to sponsor them too.”
The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Thunder Bay is the sponsorship agreement holder for both families, who the sponsorship group are responsible for assisting for one year.