The Al Sheblaqe family of Syrian refugees were welcomed at the Penticton Airport on Sunday evening. Mohammad Ali and Eklas Al Sheblaqe have two daughters

Syrian refugee family welcomed

A second family of Syrian refugees arrived in Summerland on Sunday evening.

A second family of Syrian refugees arrived in Summerland on Sunday evening.

The family of five are being sponsored by the Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group.

Mohammad Ali and Eklas Al Sheblaqe have two daughters, Nebal, age eight and Eman, age seven, and a son Eklas, age three. The mother is expecting to give birth to another child in May.

The sponsorship effort began in early December.

At that time, Coun. Doug Holmes held a public meeting to discuss the plight of Syrian refugees and ways the community could respond.

A week later, the refugee sponsorship group met for the first time.

The group consists of 26 members who served on subcommittees to take care of housing, transportation needs and schooling issues for the family.

Earlier this year, the Summerland United Church sponsored a family of five Syrian refugees. The family arrived in late March.

Holmes said the work done with the first sponsorship effort benefitted the sponsorship group in their endeavours.

“David Sparks and the church have helped us a lot,” he said. “The fact that it was done before made a difference.”

More than nine million Syrians have fled their homes since civil war began in March, 2011.

According to figures released late in 2015, nearly 4.3 million people are registered as refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

 

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