Faith United Milton    

Welcomes You    



 MILTON SAFARI (Service And Friendship Assisting Refugee Immigration) – is a broadly based community of volunteers working together to bring hope and promise of future well-being to a Syrian refugee family. This group includes: Faith United Milton, Hillcrest United Church, Red Hill Church, Rotary Club of Milton, Members of local Muslim and Arab communities and independent community Individuals. 

Phone: Jean Lillie – 905 875 4443 or Irene Harrison – 905 878 5079

Bulletin #5 - Final Update May 2018

It has been almost 2 ½ years since the SAFARI group was established to sponsor a family from Syria.  Over $41,000 had been received in donations from our generous supporters.  Our family of 5 arrived in Milton in September 2016 and have settled very nicely in their new country.  Sarhan, the father, has a full time job working at the mushroom farm, Hyatt the mother continues her ESL training in the morning and works part time at the Lazeez restaurant doing what she enjoys, cooking.  The oldest son Rahman continues to work mostly full time doing carpet installation.  The daughter Zeyna continues her education in the ESL program at Craig Keilburger and the youngest son Jabbar continues his education at CK and works part time at Lazeez.  They have been living in a rented house in west Milton with a very supportive landlord and they have been looking after themselves financially for over 6 months now.   The final meeting of the SAFARI group took place this past week and the decision was made to disperse the remaining funds still being held, directly to the members of the family.   While the financial support will come to an end, the ongoing support and friendship will continue.  The SAFARI group thanks all the volunteers who have given of their time and financial resources to support this wonderful endeavour to help the Malla family establish themselves in their new country and in the Town of Milton.


Bulletin #4 - Towards Independence

It has been some time since we updated our congregations and members of SAFARI on the progress of our family in their many adjustments to living in Canada.

Over the past 6 months there has been a focus on integration of our Syrian family.  They have all been learning English.  The teens are involved in school and the eldest son has completed an English proficiency course and a renovation and construction trades course.   This takes a lot of time and energy!

In addition they have been introduced to skating and local parks.   Members have taken them shopping and to a variety of health related appointments. Tutors have been assisting with school work and language.  All of these activities have been supported by SAFARI members.
More recently there has been more focus on moving towards independence.  Three have passed the written part of driver’s license requirements and are now taking driving to prepare for the road test. Two bikes have been procured to assist in exploring or visiting friends or shopping.  The family are making friends at the schools they attend.

Now we are looking forward and focusing on their journey to increased independence.  In particular the family will be searching for employment.  One son who has completed his course, is ready for the job world.  If you know someone in the construction business who might  have construction opportunities please let SAFARI know.

If you know of other possible employment opportunities, please let your SAFARI members know. Jobs might be part time, permanent or short term odd jobs that will help build experience for future job searches.  

We have reached the 6 month mark of the first year for our family.  The next months will go by quickly.



Bulletin #3 – May 31, 2016

The Steering Committee decided to contact the family by telephone.  Members submitted questions that they felt we should ask and then Judy Chartrand put together a short script.  Today, Judy, Rabiya and Jean met with a Halton Multicultural interpreter and placed the call.  We wanted to let the family know that SAFARI is waiting for them in Canada.  We have spoken with the head of our family in Turkey.  The rest of the family were at work.  The family is very excited to be coming to Canada, just a bit concerned that the process is taking so long.   The family consists of the Father, Mother, one daughter and 3 sons.  The oldest son is presently in Germany and is not part of our family sponsorship, so our family will be the parents, 2 sons and a daughter.  In speaking with them, it seems that the two youngest will want to attend high school here and are presently working in Adana Turkey.  The father and older son are both anxious to be working in Canada.   None of the family speak any English.  Next week we will call them again and, we will be encouraging them to learn at least basic English.  Halton Multicultural staff have been very helpful.  They will assist with calling again next week. When the family arrives Halton Multicultural will connect them with other Syrian families who are already in Milton.   It was an exciting moment to be able to speak to our family and they are most grateful for our sponsorship.
Judy has been doing regular follow ups with the government to see if there is a way to expedite the applications. Thanks to Judy for making the telephone call happen and thanks also to Dr. Rabiya for allowing us to use her cell phone.

SAFARI Political Action Campaign

SAFARI asks the members of Faith to join in an email campaign to John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, requesting the federal government to speed up the processing of Syrian refugees in the system as of February 29 and to waive travel costs for Syrian refugees. SAFARI urges you to email John McCallum and our MP, Lisa Raitt. Click here to access the letter.

Bulletin #2 – FEBRUARY 2016

SAFARI has received notice that we can expect to welcome a family of 5 to Milton from their refugee camp in Ankara, Turkey.  There are 2 teenagers, parents and another young man with the same family name.  We don’t know how he is related to the family.

We have submitted the government forms to the United Church which is our contact to the Refugee system and will now wait to hear of their arrival date.

In the meantime, there is work to do to prepare for the family.  Teams have been formed and leaders have volunteered to share the work.  The leaders will recruit members to help with the various tasks.
Teams are: 

  • Welcoming the family- airport; interpreters
  • Housing- assisting the family in searching for rental housing                            
  • Furnishing the home- furniture, linens, kitchen tools etc.
  • Consumables- stocking the pantry with basics; cleaning supplies; personal care items
  • Services and Utilities- health care, ESL, settlement services, telephone, banking, computer
  • Integration- Living in Milton- where to shop; how to ride the bus; finding places in town
  • Teen needs- contact with welcome centre for the schools; helping the teens.

This is just an outline.  The team leaders and their team will develop a plan for their section.  As you can see there is work to be done.  We need your help.  If you are interested in helping, please speak with a SAFARI rep at your church or Rotary club and we will put you in contact with the team leader.

The work needs to be done quickly as there is a push to accept 25,000 refugees to Canada by the end of February.

Remember the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”?  It will take a community to welcome a family coming from a troubled part of the world to our Canada.  Please think of volunteering with a team.

Bulletin #1 – JANUARY 2016

This bulletin is to keep all of the interested groups up to date on Milton SAFARI’s journey to help a Syrian family settle in Milton.


Milton SAFARI is a strong committed community group of churches (Hillcrest United, Faith United, Redhill Community Church), the Muslim community, the Rotary Club, and a number of individuals.  We hope to have monthly meetings and have formed a steering committee to work between meetings.

What has been accomplished?

Fundraising: we are well on our way to our goal with $25000 known funds.  We are thankful for the strong response from the whole community. There is still room for creative folks to help us get to our goal of $30,000.  According to Government guidelines, we have enough money to sponsor a family but we need to be prepared to help the family deal with the high cost (and scarcity) of rental housing in Milton.

Research:  First we learned about how the immigration process works. This lead  us to the BVOR (Blended Visa Office Referred) process. The costs of settlement are shared between the government and our community.  

Registration: we have registered Milton SAFARI as ready for a family and are waiting for a family to be referred to us.  We understand that the process is slow as there are many communities also preparing to help families.


What are the next steps?

Housing: The committee has been keeping track of potential rental units which would be affordable and available for a family. Second: they are looking for temporary housing for the first month or two.  When the family comes to Milton they will be in temporary housing and then they will be helped to find permanent housing.

Settlement Services:  We have been learning what is available to help families such as healthcare services, English as a Second Language, Job seeking skills, and what the schools do to assist children. Logistics:  There will be a need for household furnishings and clothing donations. An inventory list has been created and we will collect names of people who have items on the list.  We do not have storage so hope that people will keep things until the family has a home to move to.  

In the meantime there is work to do as we wait for a family…..