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Thanksgiving Weekend Welcome

Lions Bay families greet long-awaited Syrian newcomers

Newly arrived Ali Omar is welcomed by John Dudley.

The Dudley home was the scene of a warm Thanksgiving welcome this weekend, as the extended family of Agid Omar arrived just last week from Northern Iraq after an extended stay in a Kurdish refugee camp.

Watershed readers will remember our story from last May, when we reported an update on the efforts of a number of Lions Bay families that began with the Syrian refugee crisis back in 2015. After extensive fundraising, enough money was raised to allow two families to emigrate to Canada. Salma and Nihad and their three small children arrived in March 2017, followed later that year by Salma’s sister Amal, her husband Agid, and their two children. Both families soon made the Lower Mainland their home, and became Canadian citizens in 2022.

Fundraising efforts have continued, including the infamous slug races held in May, which made for a joyous celebration as Agid welcomed his remaining family members to Canada. This included his father Ali Omar, pictured with John Dudley, above, along with his mother, two brothers, and his older brother's wife and three children.

Alison Dudley has spearheaded the fundraising efforts since the beginning, and announced the news of the new arrivals to family and friends this week. "It was so heartening to see the family all reunited after many long years of waiting, especially at Thanksgiving," she said. Dudley offered words of thanks to all the Lions Bay families who helped out with donations along the way, and hopes the donations will help the extended family settle into their new lives in Canada.

"Agid works as a tower crane operator in Vancouver, along with two of his brothers who arrived in Canada last year," she told The Watershed. earlier today. "His father and newly-arrived older brother are also tower crane operators - look for them way up in the Vancouver skyline soon."

Dudley added that what began as a small initiative to sponsor a family of five in 2016 has blossomed into the resettlement of 22 people. "It's heart-warming to witness what our small community has achieved in supporting these families. They will be forever grateful to the people of Lions Bay. "

While Dudley says no further donations are needed to support the newest arrivals, the West Vancouver United Church maintains a fund to sponsor refugees from many different countries. Tax deductible donations are welcome anytime HERE.

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Thanks so much Karen and thanks so much to everyone who has supported this family with generous donations and friendship. It took a village!


I must give credit to Alison and Eric who hosted this celebratory Thanksgiving lunch in their home on Sunset Drive. There were teary eyes all round, as Agid interpreted the words of gratitude from his parents and brothers to the people of Lions Bay who have changed their lives.


Indeed, wonderful! Happy, uplifting story.


Such a wonderful story! Welcome to Canada!!

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