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More than money needed to help Nova Scotia-bound Syrian refugees

HALIFAX – Fundraising enough money to sponsor Syrian refugees is one of the main challenges being faced by Nova Scotia groups, but there are also duties afterward.

“You have to help them find their housing, get them integrated into the community, help them get schooling,” said Rana Zaman, director for the United For One Association, which is based in Dartmouth.

The non-profit group is holding an awareness and fundraising event in the McInnes Room in Dalhousie University’s Student Union Building at 7 p.m. tonight.

The group has raised $40,000 with the goal to raise five times that to bring in six Syrian families.

“But, eventually, if we have enough funds raised, we will continue sponsoring families who are in the most need, and they can be from any background at that point,” said Zaman.

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The money collected will go to the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), one of seven sponsorship agreement holders in the province.

“We have that agreement with the federal government so we can submit applications,” said Gerry Mills, the director of operations for the organization.

ISANS will used the money to support the families. A family of four costs about $28,000 to sponsor, she said, and 35 applications have been submitted.

While one of the priorities is sponsorship, Mills said that financial donations, volunteering, and even something simple as making a sign welcoming the refugees to the province helps.

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