A Syrian family of seven has been chosen to migrate to Revelstoke.
The Almastou family, which consists of father Rakan, mother Medheya, and their five children, between one and nine years old, are expected to arrive in Revelstoke within the next six months.
“We’re excited we know who’s coming,” said Rana Nelson, the head of Revelstoke for Refugees. “We will work as hard as possible to make it a good fit for everybody.”
The family was chosen out of a list of 33 families that was screened by the United Nations and compiled by the Sponsorship Agreement Holder.
Nelson said the criteria they looked at was the number of children and the father’s skill set.
“We decided we wanted three or more (children) because Revelstoke has such good early childhood support,” she said.
According to a family profile supplied to Revelstoke for Refugees, Rakan, 34, has worked in construction for more than 10 years, and owned a vegetable store for two years. Nelson said the fact Rakan has worked in construction was important, adding that most applicants listed farming in their work history. “Part of our job is to help him find work,” she said.
No information is provided about Medheya or her five children, other than their ages. The profile says they speak Arabic. Nelson said she’s been told Rakan should have some level of English, but they have people willing to help the family learn the new language.
The family has been living in a refugee camp in Jordan for three years, after fleeing the civil war in Syira in a sheep carrier truck with several other families. It took them three tries to cross the border.
Revelstoke for Refugees has raised $49,000, which will go to the Almastou family to help get them established in Revelstoke. They are still looking for housing for the family, though Nelson said they have a lead on a home. One of the big question marks is they’re not sure when the family will arrive.
She said they are looking to send a welcome letter to the family to let them know what to expect when they arrive. Students from Begbie View Elementary are also writing letters.
“We’re hopeful we can provide some stability,” Nelson said.