Diane with Syrian Family
Rev. Diane Blanchard welcomes Ramsiz and Afaf Alnajjar and their daughter Yasmin to the church service on Jan. 17. Kilbride and Carlisle United Churches are helping to sponsor Ramsiz’s parents, brother and sisters, nieces and nephews who live in Syria.


I would like to introduce you to the extended family of Ramsiz and his wife Afaf. Afaf was born a refugee in Kuwait to Palestinian parents and so never had citizenship until she became a Canadian. Her husband Ramsiz is also Palestinian and has a similar story. Ramsiz’s family are refugees in Syria. There are four families with children ranging in age 2 to 10 with their parents, a mother, daughter and a single brother.

Afaf, in her search for help to bring her husband’s family out of danger to Canada, found the United Church of Canada truly heard her story and she was connected by Khwaka Kukubo, the General Council’s Refugee Program Advisor, with several ministers including Rev. Diane. Working with Afaf, applications for each member (19 in total) were submitted 2 years ago this December to the Canadian Government for approval.

The nineteen refugees have now arrived in Canada and are busy setting up their new homes. A big thanks to all the volunteers who are helping them feel welcome in their new country.

Syrian family

Ramsiz was overjoyed to introduce his parents Yusef and Sofia to Rev. Barbara Morrison.

Syrian family 2

A big welcome sign greeted the refugees at the airport.


Refugees Yousef and Safia Elnabrees (foreground) and two of their grandchildren, Jamal, 7, and Dina, 9, enjoy a family get-together in Hamilton last weekend with their son, Magdy, daughter-in-law, Afaf Elnajjar, and Flamborough ministers Rev. Christina Paradela and Rev. Diane Blanchard.

Click here for the United Church Observer January 2017 update about the Syrian refugees.

Click here for the Hamilton Spectator article about the Syrian refugees.

Click here for the Flambourgh Review article about the Syrian refugees

Click here for the Burlington Post article about the Syrian refugees