Franc arrived in Halifax on December 22nd, 2018 in the midst of a particularly severe cold snap at a time when settling into a new community and country was made especially difficult because many organizations and government offices were closed for Christmas. The Refugee Working Group, which had agreed to help her sponsorship group with settlement, kicked into gear and assisted Franc with the many practical details that face refugees when they arrive, reeling from jet lag and the realities of a Canadian winter.
Franc is a tiny person and my first sight of her was of a woman almost drowned in an oversized overcoat and boots which she had received on landing in Toronto. She is a very fashion-conscious person and it wasn’t long before she was stylishly turned out and was settling in to her new community with school and with work. One of her main priorities was to get her children, whom she had been forced to leave behind in Uganda, to Canada. She moved to file a One Year Window application, with the help of her sponsors in late 2019. Then of course Covid -19 struck putting the vast majority of refugee applications on pause.
One year later, when there was no movement on the file, Franc took her story to the media and a story appeared in the Chronicle Herald. Whether it was cause and effect or not, the application was approved and Franc had to deal with all the documentation and procedures required for the children to come to NS.
Much of this cost money and FBCH was able to step forward and help provide some funding. Franc’s children Bridget (20), Patricia (13) and Denis(10) arrived in mid- April 2021. They quarantined for 14 day and then were thrown almost immediately into a new province wide lockdown. Since then, Patricia and Denis have settled into school and Bridget is completing high school on-line at NSCC. Franc is working as a cleaner at The Bay in Dartmouth.
The Refugee and Newcomers Committee is committed to continuing to assist Franc and her family. Many folks do not realize that refugees are responsible for their own travel costs. They sign a loan guarantee and a year after their arrival they must start to pay off the loan. Franc has been responsible for her own loan and now for that of her children. The RNC hopes to help with some of that cost.
Lately Franc is facing another concern. The apartment where she and the children have been living is slated for renovation and she will be renovicted when the current provincial State of Emergency is lifted at the end of March. Franc needs a three bedroom apartment. If she gets a provincial subsidy for housing, she can still only afford about $1500. She would like to stay in the Fairview/Clayton Park area but would go anywhere in HRM if she could find something. I am hoping that someone in the congregation might know of possible apartments. Please contact Sandra Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
To continue and expand our efforts in supporting refugees, funds are needed. You have been generous with your gifts in the past and we ask you to consider donating to the Social Justice Fund, 80 % of which will come to the Refugees and Newcomers Committee. You can also make weekly donations through your envelope, on-line at our website or through the pre-authorized option.
Please continue to support the work of the Refugee and Newcomers Committee with your prayers and with your financial support.