Soufi center’s fundraising to host Syrian refugees

I met Lesley Findlay, also knows as Leila, last January as she was raising fund to host a Syrian family.

30.000CAD this is the amount of money that Leila must raise to be able to host a Syrian family. It’s the amount of money that the Canadian government considers necessary for a family to survive one year. But this is only the first step to hosting a family. Once the money is raised, Leila will have to find them a place to live, some furniture, linens, clothes, utensils and so on. That’s when the family arrives and needs to be acclimated to the city, learn french and/or english and find a place in the community.

Leila praying at Soufi Center on Fairmount street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, January 2016.
“We don’t have a lot of money but we have arab speakers, we know the culture, we know their practices.”
Soufi Center on Fairmount street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, January 2016.

The Soufi center, on Fairmount street, where Leila goes every week is not what you can call a mosque, it is a Masjid. 
Unlike Mosque, Masjid are not permanent structure and they can be moved.
The small community that gathers in this Masjid don’t have a lot of money so Leila knows that she will have to look for her funding elsewhere. 
But she’s sure that once the family arrives, they’ll be welcomed and helped by the Soufi Center.

Sharing tea and food is common during the Cheik’s preaching at Soufi Center on Fairmount street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, January 2016.
Men praying at Soufi Center on Fairmount street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, January 2016.
“Unlike some other fundraisings, this is not just about signing a check. The donors will be able to be in touch with the family, even meet them at the airport. The first goal being to create a bond with the refugees and see them as an extendended family.”
Women praying at Soufi Center on Fairmount street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, January 2016.

When Leila first started the fundraising campaign, everybody around her thought she was crazy.

But she imagined her family and the one she loved being in this situation and felt that it was the right thing to do.

Woman rocking a baby to sleep.
“Give me the family that no one else wants! Because not only will it make such a difference in people’s life if we succeed to integrate them, but it will also change my life.”
Soufi Center on Fairmount street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, January 2016.