Barah Darawsheh and Abdullah Ghunaim and their three young children are in Jordan awaiting enough funds to bring them to Cowichan. (Submitted)

Barah Darawsheh and Abdullah Ghunaim and their three young children are in Jordan awaiting enough funds to bring them to Cowichan. (Submitted)

Sarah Simpson column: A wish for peaceful Christmas Chaos

I don’t have $20,000 but I do have this platform to reach out to you

There’s always some sort of Christmas chaos surrounding my family. And no, I’m not talking the massive craft fair that took over Duncan last weekend. I mean actual chaos. From the craziness of getting a spot on the ferry over to the Mainland to the excitement of Christmas morning, to having to play Trunk Tetris to try to pack the kids’ gifts from Grammy home, there’s always something. But one thing remains constant — although it’s not always easy, we do it together. Even though I’m a ferry away from the majority of my extended family, we are able to be together almost at will.

Barah Darawsheh and Abdullah Ghunaim and their three young children just want to share that kind of joy. They’ve fled the civil war in Syria and are currently in limbo in Jordan waiting for a private sponsorship group of five Cowichan Valley residents to raise the funds needed to bring them here to their family.

Relatives Nisreen Darawsheh and Mohamad Ghunaim — also Syrian refugees — have settled in the region and long to have their loved ones with them.

“There are many, many families needing stable refuge, and it can be difficult to fathom how we can help – but we can Start With One,” explained Christine Fagan, a member of the sponsorship group. “Hope is now only $20,000 away. Of the $36,000 needed, $16,000 has been raised by the sponsorship group in the form of private donations and a garage sale with the Duncan United Church community.”

I don’t have $20,000 but I do have this platform to reach out to you, and hopefully together we can help spread the word and raise that last bit of money so this family can reunite. If you don’t have the funds, I know it’s tight this time of year especially, maybe do you have some extra time to volunteer to fundraise?

Fagan calls it a double love story.

“Barah’s sister Nisreen is married to Abdullah’s brother Mohamad,” she explained.

I actually had to write it out to understand. (Sisters married brothers!)

“The sponsorship group and other volunteers are working toward reuniting these sisters, their husbands and children, so that they may all thrive together here in safety,” Fagan said.

The children haven’t seen two of their cousins in three years and have never met their youngest cousin.

“The cousins here in Duncan are saving their toys for the baby, and on a recent family fishing trip, they asked their parents if they can get fishing rods for their cousins and take them fishing as soon as they arrive,” Fagan said. “We all need family.”

We all need family.

I was careful to use the word “chaos” instead of “crisis” at the beginning of this column because my family chaos is nowhere near a crisis. We are not fleeing war. We are together. We are safe. Everyone wants that. The Darawsheh/Ghunaim family, well, they know what crisis really means. They’re idle in Jordan, unable to work or go to school and in constant fear for their safety. Wouldn’t it be great to see them look forward to enjoying the peaceful chaos that my family — many families here in the region and Canada in general — are blessed to afford. Can you help?

For more information on the sponsorship group, here’s a portal to the Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/start-with-one-family—the-darawsheh-family. Donations can also be made directly to the Cowichan Intercultural Society; just let staff know it’s for the Darawsheh Fund and leave your email to get a charitable tax receipt.

If you’re interested in hearing the family’s story and helping in the efforts to bring them home to Cowichan, the next presentation is Dec. 1 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Coffee on the Moon (501 Canada Ave.). To RSVP or for more information please email: StartWithOneFamily@outlook.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“He’ll be bowling for dollars — $30,000 to be exact. Matt Hancock, 15-years-old of Lake Cowichan won in the Coca-Cola B.C. championship finals and will now bowl in the international championship with a chance to win a $30,000 scholarship. Hancock will go to the international competition in Columbus July 10. He is coached by Karen Smith of Cowichan Lake and plays on the T.G.S. bowling team.” (Lake News/May 8, 1996)
Flashback: Taxes, school district amalgamation, logging licences and student news

A look back through the pages of Lake Cowichan’s history

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Give me a brake!

It was clear that none of these drivers had done a pre-trip inspection

Robert’s column
Robert Barron column: Cameras on school buses a good idea

“I’ve seen kids have to run from cars”

Trying out a corn variety called “Midnight Snack, grown near Cache Creek, as well as my saved Bantam/Sunnyvee Cross (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Early sowing gets a jump on corn season

‘I’m planting three batches of corn, two weeks apart for a steady supply’

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read