KENTVILLE – Wolfville resident Mohamed Iye will see his family for the first time in four years when they arrive from a Kenya refugee camp this fall to settle in Kentville.
Iye currently lives in Wolfville and arrived in Nova Scotia as a refugee. He traveled to Canada from the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya, where he lived for many years with his family.
He is now helping the Centreville and Aldershot Refugee Sponsorship group with last minute preparations to ready for his family members – his grandmother, aunt and uncle, and their three boys.
“We chose to pursue a family reunification sponsorship this time and are very excited for this family arrive and to help get them settled in the area,” said Rachel McNally, vice-chair of the sponsorship group.
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McNally and Iye first met when Mohamed began working with the sponsorship group as a translator when their first refugee family arrived in 2016.
Iye, who speaks over five languages, helped the family navigate the Annapolis Valley and life in Canada, and acted as an intermediary between the family and their sponsors.
Iye got to know the sponsors and new family as they got to know him, and shared his story with them. He arrived in Wolfville as a business student at Acadia University after receiving the World University Service of Canada scholarship, and has since graduated with a business degree.
When the group began looking at different sponsorship programs, they turned to Iye and asked him to give a presentation on his own situation, and relatives still living at the Dadaab camp.
“He shared his entire story with us church in a meeting, and it was voted unanimously that we should go ahead and sponsor his family,” said McNally.
His family will be leaving Dadaab – the second-largest refugee camp of the world made up of nearly 250,000 refugees – and will join him in Kentville.
His aunt and uncle both read, write and speak some English, and worked in the camp as teacher and support worker respectively. Their three boys and their grandmother do not speak English, but will have Iye to help guide them as they begin to learn the language.
The group will receive only one week’s notice once the family’s firm arrival date is set between between Nov. 12 and Dec. 24, and are in need of more volunteers to help settle the family once they arrive.
The group also still needs a four-bedroom house to rent in the Kentville area, along with financial and in-kind donations of furniture and winter clothing.
“There’s a lot of paperwork – health cards, permanent residency forms, school registration – and we’d also like to find people to help show the Iye family around the Annapolis Valley,” said McNally.
“A lot of it is helping familiarize the family with life here.”
Donations may be sent to the CARS Refugee Fund at:
c/o Centreville Baptist Church
870 Murray Drive
Centreville, Nova Scotia
or e-transfer via: https://www.cbckc.ca/ (press “pushpay”)