Support for Setting up a Home

When sponsorship groups agree to sponsor a family they take on the task of gathering all the necessary furniture and household items that are needed by this family.  It can be a daunting and time consuming task contacting friends, family, neighbours and the public for donations.  The more that is donated, the more funds will be left over for  rent, food, and other daily sundries.

Each group has to come up with an inventory list and must start searching.  Storage becomes an issue as donations pour in. Before you know it you have too much stuff.  With so many groups needing items it is important that everyone be able to benefit from the generosity of others, so sharing information about what you need and what you have to give to other groups becomes another aspect that can be quite daunting.  It is with that in mind that a few volunteers have come together to simplify the process,  and share resources.

  1. STORAGE:   a generous family has donated the use of their clean dry large garage/barn for the constituency groups to store the furniturethat they are going to use for their refugee family.  This is meant to be a back up storage when no other storage can be found, as space is limited. We have a volunteer who has agreed to coordinate access for drop off and pick up . Please contact: for more information.
  2. HOUSEHOLD ITEM SHARING:   In order to facilitate communication amongst the groups a very generous web developer has donated his time and efforts  to create a secure spreadsheet for the donation coordinator of each group to access so that they can share what furniture they still need and what they have extra.     Now you can check at a glance who has what you want and you can contact them directly.  The In Kind Donations for Refugees team will also advertise their contents on this site.
    If you would like to register for this please  go to and click on Trading Post.
  3. HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE DEPOT:  The general public are currently being generous with their donations of furniture and household items.  In order to accept these donations before the groups are ready to look for items, a furniture depot has been developing .   Please forward the name & contact information of any donor offering items that your constituency group does not require to  We will follow-up with said donor and make arrangements for the offered items to be advertised on the Trading Post and stored for another groups use.
  4. HOUSEHOLD ITEMS DEPOT:  We are also gathering the above mentioned household items, sorting  them, and are developing a system to offer them to constituency groups.  The goal is to avoid spending money to purchase anything.  Please contact for any items to donate or to access the pool.

We would like to thank the Shawn DeWolfe for his efforts developing the Trading Post, the Love family and Milne family for their generous donation of storage space, The Kiwanis Manor for their donations in kind, and the dozens of families from the general public who went through their households and donated  goods and furniture.

Please give us feedback to help us improve the Trading Post.


Recent Posts

From Syrian refugees to business owners in 1 year

Syrian couple who came to Victoria, B.C., as refugees open new business making food

By Gregor Craigie, CBC News
Posted: Jun 13, 2017 3:01 PM PT           Last Updated: Jun 13, 2017 3:01 PM PT

Ibrahim Hajibrahim and Ranim Khochkar came to Canada as refugees in 2016. They now make Syrian food and have a food company called Saraya Hot Bread in Victoria, B.C. (Gregor Craigie)

A Syrian couple who came to Canada as refugees last year are the new owners of a fledgling food business they started with the help of new Canadian friends.

Ibrahim Hajibrahim and Ranim Khochkar make several types of Mediterranean food with traditional Syrian recipes, such as Baba ghanoush, Dolma, lentil fingers and stuffed hot bread.

They now sell their food under the name Saraya Hot Bread at a deli in Victoria, B.C.

Making food comes naturally to the family but starting a new business in a new country with a long list of licences and health requirements did not. So, the couple relied on the help of volunteers from a local refugee sponsorship group.

Karen Short is a volunteer with the Harbour of Hope Refugee Assistance Society, which is working to sponsor Hajibrahim’s sister to come to Canada as a refugee. In six weeks, Short and other volunteers helped the Syrian couple set up a sole proprietorship, obtain necessary licences, and find an accredited commercial kitchen.

Ibrahim Hajibrahim and Ranim Khochkar stand with Lisa Buchan, the deli director at the Red Barn Markets, and Karen Short, with the Harbour of Hope Refugee Assistance Society in Victoria, B.C. (Gregor Craigie)

Ibrahim Hajibrahim, Ranim Khochkar, Lisa Buchan, and Karen Short
Ibrahim Hajibrahim and Ranim Khochkar stand with Lisa Buchan, the deli director at the Red Barn Markets, and Karen Short, with the Harbour of Hope Refugee Assistance Society in Victoria, B.C. (Gregor Craigie)

“Ibrahim said do you think people would buy our food if we had a restaurant?” Short recalled. “There isn’t a Syrian restaurant in Victoria and startup costs for a restaurant are huge. And I said, well, I think people would buy your food if you could think of a way to sell it without the expenditure of setting up a storefront operation.”

The food is now sold at one of the Red Barn Market grocery stores in Victoria, B.C.

The deli director of Red Barn Markets, Lisa Buchan, said it was an easy decision to sell the product.

“Well, I tasted it,” she said, “and that pretty much sold itself.”

The Saraya Hot Bread foods are now only sold in one location, but Buchan said “we’re hoping to expand to other locations soon.”

Hajibrahim and Khochkar are hopeful their new business will help them make ends meet in their new hometown.

Rent is expensive in Victoria, and they have four young children to support, as well as Hajibrahim’s mother.

A new business and a new life in Canada

As was the case with so many other Syrian refugees, the couple never planned on leaving their home.

But when armoured vehicles surrounded their neighbourhood in the city of Latakia, in 2013, Hajibrahim feared for his safety.

He is a pharmacist and had provided medicine to many people in the community during the fighting. He worried that he might be arrested as a result, so he fled to Turkey.

Hajibrahim hopes to work as a pharmacist here, eventually, but first he will have to recertify and learn more technical English. That is likely to take three years, but in the meantime he said the family’s new business venture has made him feel like his family belongs.

“So, we feel now like we are not refugees,” Hajibrahim said. “We are settled people.”

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