Funds for Syria: Many Matches

Rahman Mohamed
The growing fundraising and assistance for refugees from

In 2014 the Assyrian Chaldean Syriac Student Union (ACSSU), a student organization with branches at McMaster, York, Ryerson and Brock Universities, ran a movement entitled “Life of a Mesopotamian Refugee” to raise funds for refugees from Syria and Iraq by mimicking the life of a refugee for a week.  Today Europe is facing a Syrian refugee crisis as Syrians flee a country with multiple civil wars including the rebellion against dictating leader Bashar al-Assad and growing Islamic State (IS) or ISIL (Islamic State in Levant), seeking asylum in Europe.  Many have called this the greatest number since World War 2.

On 17 September The Globe and Mail reported that Croatia accepted 5,600 asylum seekers in a single day.  At the same time Hungary has blocked its border with Serbia, leaving out refugees who are seeking to enter the European Union (EU).  While the EU has signed off a proposal to accept 120,000 refugees and redistribute them across the EU,  CBC reported on 14 September that Germany had accepted over 50,000 refugees, expecting to reach 800,000 by the end of the year.

Across Canada there has been a call to answer the cry for the government to reply to this crisis.  On 16 September a Nanos poll conducted for CTV reported that 7 in 10 Canadians support allowing more refugees in Canada, airlifting them to Canada at Canada’s expense supported by the majority.  With an election looming there has been a delay in response to bring in refugees, each leader speaking about a different approach and quota, quickly making it a hot topic of campaigns.

On 12 September CTV reported that the Canadian government agreed to match funds raised by Canadians up to $100 million after Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne $2 million for immediate relief through the UN high commissioner.  In addition she committed $8.5 million in helping refugee resettlement in Ontario.

The Canadian government isn’t the only one who’s stepped up to match.  On 17 September, upon entrance to Google’s homepage a line descended saying “Help refugees and migrants in urgent need. Google will match your donation.”  After signing into your Google account and selecting an account the reader is sent to a page entitled Refugee and Migrant Crisis.  With multiple fading images, Google’s Refugee page shows common online scenes from the story of the refugee struggle

Google’s not alone.

British Andy Murray has pledged that “that for every ace he hits until the end of the year, he will donate £50 to Unicef”.

On 17 September UK’s The Independent reported that Standard Life, ATP and LTA “will match Murray’s donations pound for pound, meaning every ace will amount to a donation of £200 for Unicef.

Support for Syrians is growing worldwide.