New lives

Canadian family welcomes 43 relatives, all Syrian refugees, into their small home

On December 10, Christine Youssef, 26, and her mother, Sarah Asmar, welcomed 5 adult cousins who fled Syria more than a year ago into their three-bedroom bungalow in Toronto. This Tuesday, they welcomed 9 more relatives. By Christmas they will have 24 relatives staying at the house, and over the course of the next three months they plan to receive 19 more — all of them refugees fleeing the Syrian war. The plan is for the relatives to find their own apartments and houses as the others arrive, but for now the mother-daughter duo enjoy a full house. Youssef and Asmar are participants in a Canadian resettlement program that relies on individual families sponsoring refugees in order to bring some 25,000 Syrians into the country. After Youssef’s cousins were forced to flee Damascus in autumn of 2014, they fled across the border into Lebanon and called Youssef and her mother for help. Youssef gave up her job to dedicate herself to completing the extensive paperwork, a task she now helps refugees with whether they’re family or not. In order to raise the $250,000 necessary to sponsor their 43 relatives, Youssef and Asmar have taken out loans, maxed out their credit cards, and remortgaged their house. “To me, this is what I have to do,” Youssef says. “I have no choice.”

Read the full story at Mashable.

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