Afghan Family

The following was published in the Merrickville Phoenix, August 2022.

The Afghan family sponsored by Rideau Bridge to Canada arrived at the airport on Thursday July 14th, after spending a night in Toronto. A large Merrickville reception committee greeted them in the driveway of their new home on Main St. Audrey Bridge (Chair of Rideau Bridge) expressed the delight of all for their safe arrival. Zarmina (in the hijab) said some words of gratitude that were translated by her elder daughter Khatera (on the right holding flowers). It was a joyous and emotional occasion.

Khatera has worked as a journalist and interpreter and her sister Sodaba recently completed her training as a doctor. Sodaba’s husband Samim (also in the medical field) is expected to arrive in a month or so—he is currently in Islamabad finalizing his refugee application. Both sisters speak good English and Khatera’s children (Tamkin 14, Adil 12) and Zarmina are hesitant to speak but clearly understand some English too.

None of the women have any driving experience, so Rideau Bridge is looking to sign up voluntary drivers to take them to appointments. Liz Snider (lizzie@thedge.ca) is the driving coordinator so please let her know if you are willing to help out. You will need to complete a Voluntary Sector Check with the OPP (www.opp.ca/recordchecks) to do this.

As mentioned in the July Phoenix, Rideau Bridge is organizing a benefit golf tournament to raise funds for the family (Brockville Country Club, September 9th). Ted Purnell asked Golf Canada for their support, and they have donated four tickets to the Canadian Women’s Open (Aug 22-28 in Ottawa). All those registered and paid for our Brockville tournament by August 8th will be automatically entered for the draw, which will be held on August 9th. If you are a golfer, please sign up (www.merrickville-bridge.ca/golf) and you will have a chance to see Brooke Henderson in action!

We have been so grateful for the generosity of those who have given household items to furnish the house on Main St. We still need laptops for them–we will be buying one or two but will need four in total. And if anyone is willing to donate a car, that would be wonderful. It’s a big ask, but as we all know, a car is essential in our rural community with no public transport. Please contact Audrey (ajkbridge@aol.ca) or one of the Rideau Bridge Executive if you have these items to donate.

Submitted on behalf of the Rideau Bridge to Canada Executive