Hope for Nour- Become One of the 18

Posted by Laura-Jean Bernhardson on 2017 Jul 9th

For a couple years now, I've been working with various groups to sponsor 5 different families to come to Canada. 

One of those families has been here over a year, another arrived a few months ago and the other 3 are still waiting for the paperwork to be processed.

A desperate waiting game.

One of those who is waiting for paperwork is in desperate need of extra help to get them through, and we're building a team of 18 people each committed to raising $500 in their community to make up the $9000 that will supply them with basic shelter and food for next months as they wait.

Nour, Khaled and their son Jad.

This family has been through years of war, first in Syria, then in Libya. It's hard to imagine the violence they've experienced- Nour's husband Khaled lost his job when his boss was kidnapped, never to be seen again. In Libya, Nour sent us sound recordings of nighttime shooting in the street.  

Finally they made it to Lebanon, but their original plan to stay with a family member fell through and the scarce work that's available is not offered to Syrians. What was supposed to be a safe haven - finally- has turned into a desperate waiting game not being able to make ends meet for the basics.

Our group is in regular contact with the family, and they are proud, hard-working people not wanting to ask for help. Their circumstance, however is not sustainable without our support. 

Will you be one of the 18? 

What kind of people can join the 18? Anyone who wants to make a difference. 

Ordinary people can do this. In fact, if you can simply inspire 25 people to each donate 20 dollars, we will have more than enough.

You may be:

  • A community leader in your school, workplace, church, mosque or synagogue
  • Someone in the media with a following – you have a popular blog or other kind of audience
  • A small business owner
  • Someone with a large group of family and friends

Ways you can work to raise the $500:

  • Do a fundraiser in your community
  • Do an initiative with your business
  • Share on social media and ask people to donate

How we will support you (and each other):

Through our secret Facebook group, we will keep in touch with each other, sharing our fundraising successes and challenges and learning as we go.

In the Facebook group, you can communicate directly with Nour and see the difference our efforts are making in keeping hope alive for her little family.

The story will be created as we grow our group, work together to raise funds and see the money raised grow.

Find out more about joining us as one of the 18. Click here for more info and to sign up.

If you are not able to join us as one of the 18, please consider an individual donation here.

This has proven to be a very successful fundraising strategy. We raised the $23,000 needed to sponsor this family by rallying 23 people each raising $1000 (see that story here).

We raised $33,000 for another family with the same structure, by hosting yard sales, a pub trivia night, cocktail parties and all kinds of other initiatives from small business owners and from individuals.

Toronto fitness expert Oonagh Duncan was part of our team and featured in the Toronto Star for her fundraising efforts through her business Fit Feels Good.


What we discovered is that doing good is very good for small business! 

Here are just some of the benefits we’ve seen in taking on a cause in your small business.

Taking on a cause in your business gives you a chance to show your customers, and potential new customers where your heart and your company’s core values are.

These days, many savvy customers want to buy where they feel people care and they’re doing more than just buying *things*. Offering them a chance to support the cause you’ve taken on allows them to feel good about their consumer choices.

Mass media is interested in “something different”.

In addition to sponsoring families, I founded The Clothing Drive in November 2015 to supply donated clothing to Syrian newcomers arriving in Toronto. It was intended to be a tiny project, to collect clothing for the first family we were sponsoring. 

Media interest was one of the reasons this blew up into a massive project that ended up attracting many key leaders to drive it forward and hundreds of passionate volunteers.  It was an exciting privilege to be able to be a part of this incredible project for the time that I was.

The project supplied clothing and other items to thousands of newcomers and has spun off several other projects to help with settlement for newcomers. 

Oonagh Duncan, a Toronto fitness expert who runs bootcamps and programs for fitness, shared her fundraising campaign on Facebook and it was picked up by a Toronto Star reporter for an incredible full page article on the front of the Life Section. 

Getting this kind of exposure has been amazing for our causes and fundraising and, as a bonus, it's an amazing chance to show the world where your heart is at as a small business owner. 

Joining a fundraising project (like ours) is an incredible way to increase your professional network.

In the last couple of years, I’ve worked alongside hundreds of amazing new people from various communities that I would never have come in contact with if I had stayed in my normal routine. Those wonderful people have all become part of my personal and professional network.

Please take a look and consider joining us as one of the 18. 


If you need help and support to come up with an idea, I'm ready to help you! 

Find out more about joining us as one of the 18. Click here for more info and to sign up.

If you are not able to join us as one of the 18, please consider an individual donation here.