With Jewish and Italian philanthropists’ help, Canada meets its 2018 refugee targets

Earlier this month, a group of philanthropists responded to an urgent request for help in bringing 685 refugees to Canada by the end of the year.

They committed $3.5 million to cover the costs of settling 175 families who, except for their help, would have remained stuck in United Nations refugee camps.

The B.C.-based Giustra Foundation and the Massachusetts-based Shapiro Foundation took the lead in recruiting six others to raise the money and worked with the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub and Jewish Family Services to find 150 volunteer groups to do the work of getting the families settled.

The families are coming from a variety of countries including Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of the 175 families, 37 are to come to B.C. with 29 of them already here.

Next week, a single mother with two children is to arrive from the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country with one of the highest child-mortality rates in the world, where life expectancy is 49½ years.

Frank Giustra among Syrian refugees on a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos. SUBMITTED /VANCOUVER SUN

Daphne Bramham: With philanthropists' help, Canada meets its 2018 refugee targets

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