• Sue Warren

The Starfish Refugee Project begins

Updated: Jul 21, 2021

Approximately six years ago, news of atrocities occurring in Syria were trickling to Canada and in particular, to the South Shore of Nova Scotia. A group of concerned citizens began to speak with each other. There must be a way to help our neighbours from Syria, they concluded. But there were so many people affected, so many tragedies, how could we possibly do enough to be worth while?

Rather than be defeated by the enormous task in front of them, the group took inspiration from the story of a boy on a beach where thousands and thousands of starfish had been stranded. The small boy was picking up one starfish at a time and carrying it to throw it gently into the water. A man who observed this said, "Why are you bothering to do this? You will never save them all. Even working every hour of the day, your efforts will not make a difference." The boy replied as he threw one more, " But it WILL make a difference to this one."

Hence, the name Starfish Refugee Project. The original plan was to sponsor and support two families. Since the arrival in Canada of those two families, the Starfish group have been quietly working behind the scenes. The members have been teaching the family members English, arranging transportation, accompanying individuals to appointments, and a multitude of other tasks and activities to orientate the 21 individuals who so far have benefitted from the Starfish Refugee Project.

Once the first family members settled in, efforts turned to reuniting adult children and their families with those family members now living on the South Shore of Nova Scotia. (Adult children are not included as a family for purposes of immigration to Canada.)

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