Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Three years to get orphans home

August 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

All too often, the bureaucracy delay legitimate help for orphans.

This recently appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press proving the point.

© Copyright (c) Winnipeg Free Press

WINNIPEG — Two orphans in Africa have finally made it to the loving arms of family in Winnipeg.

The boys, aged 7 and 13, arrived Monday after they were rescued by their aunt Elizabeth Alija, a refugee from Sudan who’s already raised four kids on her own and two other nephews.

“We were kind of lost and didn’t know if it would really happen — if really we were going to come,” said 13-year-old Thomas, who speaks Swahili, Arabic and some English, with his aunt interpreting.

In late 2008, he and his younger brother Dennis were left alone when their father died from a fever in Juba, Sudan.

Their aunt Elizabeth in Winnipeg, a Canadian citizen and health care aide, went to Sudan when her brother died. She arranged to pay someone $100 a month to care for the kids until she could sponsor the children.

In less than a year, she discovered they weren’t getting care or going to school.

She found another woman to care for the boys, who were taken to safety near the border with Kenya. But her attempt to sponsor them stalled.

In Winnipeg, she turned to John Wieler with the Portage Avenue Mennonite Church to help. The former Immigration and Refugee Board member said officials with Citizenship and Immigration in Winnipeg, Ottawa and an assistant deputy minister all pitched in. The snag was Canadian officials in Cairo and Nairobi, Wieler said.

After more than two years, Alija got some good news from immigration officials, thanks to help from Wieler and others.

She flew to Nairobi to bring the boys to Canada. But at the airport in Nairobi, Kenyan officials told Alija if she wanted to leave with the boys, “She had to speak the language” — in other words, come up with a $200 bribe.

She had $200 U.S. cash in her pocket in case of an emergency and paid the bribe, although the officials refused to give to give her a receipt.

The boys are looking forward to starting school.

carol.sanders(at)freepress.mb.ca

© Copyright (c) Winnipeg Free Press

 

Reposted by Orphans Dream Team

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