TRURO – With a big smile on his face, Qasem is content in his mother’s arms.
The three-year-old was helping his parents – Mohammad and Lamees Al Radi – along with volunteers of the Colchester Family Refugee Sponsorship (CFRS) sell cookies at the Truro Farmers’ Market. The cookies are just one way the family and CFRS is raising money to bring Mohammad’s remaining family to Truro from Jordan.
“It’s very important for us to have family here,” said Lamees, about the 10 remaining Al Radi family members in Jordan.
“We talk to them one day a week,” added Mohammad.
It was through another sponsorship group that saw the family of three arrive in Truro about a year-and-a-half ago. Now, a smaller group has formed and is diligently raising $50,000 to bring Mohammad’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and their children to Truro.
Bruce Gray, one of six members of CFRS, said the group is about halfway to their goal, which they need to have raised by the end of August.
“We’ve been writing letters to business and corporations, and they have helped us with nice, generous donations,” said Gray. “And we’ve also sent out letters to other contributors before in the hopes of similar donations.”
Gray said the group who sponsored the Al Radi family through a federal government program had some money left over, which will go to the additional Al Radi sponsorship. That program, however, is now unavailable for Syrian refugees, so the group has to come up with all the money on its own.
“It’s a lot harder this time around,” said Gray. “There were a lot of politics around it then, and when a photo surfaced of a child that had washed ashore, people were horrified.”
Mohammad and his brother, Khaled, grew up in Syria. When violence erupted in 2011, they fled to Jordan with their families and mother, where they shared a small, two-bedroom apartment.
“Circumstances for Syrians in Jordan are increasingly precarious as they face crowded living conditions, few resources and a growing threat of forced return to Syria, despite Syria still being in turmoil and lacking so many essential resources,” said CFRS member Lisa Stadelmayer.
Despite past hardships, Mohammad and Lamees are thriving in Colchester County. They have taken English classes, work full time, and are learning to drive. They were both able to find employment, and have made lots of friends.
“It’s been very, very good since coming here,” said Mohammad. “We’re excited to have our family join us here.”
“The people here are so nice, so nice,” added Lamees.
As refugee sponsors, CFRS will be responsible for all of the family’s needs for one year, including housing, clothing, food, and transportation.
“There are only six of us, so we need some help,” said Gray. “Right now we’re still doing our fundraising and filling out paperwork, but when the family is ready to come, we’ll need more help in getting them started.”
A GoFundMe page has been created for the public to contribute, which can be found at