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In November 2015, International Christian Voice visited Pakistani Christian refugees in Thailand to survey the severity of their living conditions. During our visit, we met the Faris family and heard their story. Mr. Ayub Faris and his family fled from Pakistan to save their lives after an attempted kidnapping of his 16 year old daughter, Aanya, was made by a local Islamic fundamentalist. Fortunately, she was able to escape, but the perpetrator remained adamant on kidnapping her and forcing the family to convert. In this dire situation, the quickest and easiest option for the family was to flee to Thailand.

     arrival of faris familyFaris family with ICV team

Upon arriving in Bangkok, Ayub Faris faced severe anxiety and depression due to the discriminatory treatment he faced by immigration authorities in Thailand who told him that they do not accept refugees into their country. He began working illegally to feed his young family who would regularly go to bed with empty stomachs. While working at a factory, he suffered a serious injury due to a lack of safety precautions in which three of his fingers were cut off his right hand. His inability to pay for medical treatment caused Mr. Faris to suffer from tremendous physical and emotional pain which resulted in a heart attack that took his life.

After hearing their story, ICV committed to financially support Mr. Faris’ widowed wife and three children and to begin the process for their sponsorship to Canada. In March 2017, on the death anniversary of Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti, ICV arranged a fundraiser specifically for this family to arrange for the funds needed for their settlement in Canada.

After a long and difficult journey, the family arrived in Toronto, Canada on December 20th, 2017. Upon their arrival at the airport, the family felt that their suffocation had ended, and that after all they had been through, that they can finally live a free life.

About four months into their arrival in Canada, the family has settled in very well and their integration into Canadian society is progressing as expected.  The children are doing well at their respective schools and are excited to be engaged in extracurricular activities. Aanya, 18, has decided that she wants to pursue a career in nursing. Hasroon, 17, had wanted to join the Police Services upon graduating, but after meeting some Canadian Servicemen at his school, he signed up for more information from them.  He now wants to join the Canadian Armed Forces after graduating.  Both children are determined to get their drivers licences in the near future.  Joy, 8, loves being at St. Dorothy's school and has made many friends. Their mother, Farhat, is ready to start attending ESL classes so she can attempt to get a job.

About a week after their arrival, Farhat indicated that the family would like to attend the Catholic Church.  They started partaking in the weekly RCIA program at St. Andrew's Parish, while Joy attended the RCIC program.  The three adults received the Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil and Joy was baptised on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 8, 2018.

 

Farhat and Aanya in kitchen       Faris family in St andrew Church    Faris family with Noel  at resturant

The family continue to integrate exceptionally well into their Toronto community and are looking forward to the summer months when they can explore and enjoy all that our great city and country have to offer.

International Christian Voice would like to thank all our supporters and well-wishers across the country that contributed and helped in bringing the Faris family to Canada. We would especially like to thank our sponsors who gave so generously, with open hearts, to help. We also thank the Canadian Government which has opened its borders to deserving refugees like the Faris family, giving them the opportunity to start their lives anew in a free and peaceful society.

We request you all to continue to remember this family in your prayers; that God would continue to help them with their integration into their new lives in Canada.

Media coverage of the family’s arrival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cXy-Rhn5BI&t=6s

                    

               

 

 

 

 

Exclusive footage of Shahbaz Bhatti\'s interview

TRIP TO THAILAND, MALAYSIA AND PAKISTAN

APRIL 30- MAY 15, 2018

International Christian Voice is committed to highlighting the plight of persecuted, marginalized,

and vulnerable religious minorities in Pakistan.

In pursuance of our goal to successfully bring to Canada our most recently sponsored refugee family - for whom our community and friends have so generously donated to meet their financial obligations - it became necessary to visit Pakistan and Thailand to assess firsthand the difficulties from which this family and others are suffering. Further, it is important for ICV to educate and bring awareness to asylum seekers on how to properly apply for Canadian immigration under Canada's Private Sponsorship Program and other programs.During the sponsorship process, ICV encountered a serious roadblock when the office of the UNHCR did not accept the application for our sponsored family, claiming that since the husband died in Thailand, his wife and children were no longer in danger in Pakistan and hence should go back to Pakistan.

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Backgrounder - Diefenbaker Award and Recipients Shahbaz Bhatti

Shahbaz Bhatti was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan in 2008 and named Federal Minister for Minorities a portfolio he accepted because of the opportunity it offered to defend the oppressed and marginalized of Pakistan.

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