Help Karen & Samer* Come to Canada!
(*For safety concerns, names have been changed and no identifying pictures have been posted).
Living a peaceful life with her family in an African country, Karen was kidnapped at the age of 14, assaulted and held captive as a "wife".
After a month, she was able to escape when she took advantage of her captor's drunken state and fled to the capital where she was brokered out as a housemaid. A family she worked for sent Karen to classes at night and helped her obtain a visa to the Middle East to flee the country. Like thousands of other migrant domestic workers, Karen had a work permit for a short period of time and then was forced to work illegally. Working as a janitor and a housemaid, Karen dreamed of being a chef.
In 2012, Karen met Mostafa, a refugee from the war in the Middle East who had applied to go to Canada. They fell in love and were married. A few years later, the UNHCR called Mostafa for an interview for resettlement in Canada. During the interview, the couple was told that Mostafa's application for Canada had been approved. As Karen was not on the original application for resettlement, they could reapply, which could take years and offered no guarantee of success, or Mostafa could go to Canada and apply for his wife and baby once he was there. Mostafa went to Canada and it was understood that he would sponsor Karen and the baby. Mostafa left for Canada in early 2016, and their baby was born in the summer. Karen waited months to hear from Mostafa. When he finally contacted her, he told her he was no longer willing to sponsor them. In fact, he wanted nothing more to do with her or the baby.
Karen and her child, Samer, struggle to survive. Sometimes Karen eats only once a day, to ensure Samer has food. Karen is unable to work, as there is no one to look after Samer, and she lives in fear of being jailed for working illegally. They are currently living in a house which Karen cleans in exchange for room and board. She is unable to return to her home country, where she will be persecuted for her attack on her kidnapper. Karen is Christian and her family refused to talk to her because she married a Muslim. With no valid travel papers, she is also unable to leave the Middle Eastern country they live in. As a black woman raising a bi-racial child, Karen and Samer are constantly exposed to racial harassment. She is also continually subjected to sexual propositions and sexual harassment.
They are not safe.
MainGer Settlement Group wishes to give Karen and Samer the chance to grow and thrive in Canada. To sponsor them, we need to provide the financial means required to support them for their first year in Canada. That amount is $22,400, as determined by Canadian Immigration. Karen and Samer have full UNHCR refugee status and are eligible to come to Canada.
MainGer Settlement Group was created to sponsor and provide settlement support for refugee families. To date, the members of MainGer Settlement Group have successfully sponsored two refugee families and been involved in the support and settlement of numerous other refugee families in Toronto.
If you wish to make a donation, you may do so via this website. Please note that Canada Helps takes a small portion of the donation as a processing fee. For online donation here, please include the message line: MainGer Settlement.
You can also make a donation by cheque through our Sponsorship Agreement Holder, Windermere United Church. They will issue you a tax receipt at the end of the year.
Cheques can be made payable to:
“MainGer Settlement fund c/o Windermere United Church”
and mailed to Michelle Maldonado, Church & Property Administrator
Windermere United Church
356 Windermere Avenue
Toronto ON M6S 3L3