Students hoping to provide banner welcome to Syrian refugees

A new organization aiming to aid Syrian refugees in Windsor is hoping students will join them Wednesday in issuing a banner welcome. Project Syria has teamed up with the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance for a banner raising, January 27 at 4:30 p.m. in the CAW Student Centre.

“The goal is to get as many people as possible to stand behind the banner and welcome Syrian refugees into Windsor,” says organizer Hussein Zarif.

A student of criminology and political science, he calls the Syrian civil war one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time.

“Up to 11 million people have been forced to leave their homes or killed,” Zarif says. “Families are struggling to survive inside Syria, or make a new home in neighbouring countries.

“Others are risking their lives on the way to Europe, hoping to find acceptance and opportunity. And the onset of harsh winter weather makes life as a refugee even more difficult. At times, the effects of the conflict can seem overwhelming.”

He says Project Syria plans to sponsor 150 Syrian refugees within the next two years, working with students and community services throughout Windsor and Essex County. The organization is collecting donations of items needed by families resettling in Canada; those most urgently in demand include:

  • baby strollers, children’s undergarments and pyjamas;
  • clothing for boys aged 5 to 11 years old, and for teenaged boys and girls;
  • personal hygiene products such as shampoo, soaps, toothbrushes and paste, hair brushes and combs, and feminine hygiene items;
  • bedsheets and pillowcases.

Volunteers will collect contributions at Wednesday’s event for distribution to those in need.