Meaford Refugee Welcome Group

The first year is about to end so many decisions are having to be made.   The family have been running a small but popular cooking business selling goods at the local farmer’s markets which they will continue to do.  There also is the possibility of employment for the father (a welder) in Thornbury.

There is a Syrian dinner in Meaford on February 19th to celebratory the first anniversary of their arrival.   Tickets are available from sponsorship group members.

A second sponsorship group may be forming to sponsor some family members.

Oct. 13, 2016

Our family of six arrived from Syria in February 2016 – two parents and four children aged roughly 3-10, three girls and one boy. The parents spoke virtually no English when they arrived but now, thanks to the Alliance ESL school and local volunteers, are able to hold simple conversations in English.

The children are all enrolled in schools in Meaford. They also enjoyed attending several camps over the summer – swimming, soccer, baseball, music and musical theatre – the fees for most of which were generously donated by the community. Bicycles have been a big hit and enable them to visit and play with local children.

The big push this fall is for the father to get his Canadian driving licence. Given the lack of public transit in and around Meaford, our group currently spends many hours driving, not only to Owen Sound for ESL but also medical/dental appointments, schools, and work opportunities. We see being able to drive themselves as essential to their independence and successful settlement.

While the parents’ main focus is learning English, after school they have parlayed their cooking skills into offering typical Syrian food – “A Taste of Syria” – at the farmers’ markets in Owen Sound and Meaford. Their reputation has grown by word of mouth and they frequently sell out early in the day. As a result they are considering whether catering could turn into a full-time business. As we approach Month 13, we will also be helping them look at other options.

Contact: Anne Anderson,