Crises like the one taking place in Syria have a way of making people feel powerless.
After all, what could you, a lowly individual, possibly do to even put a dent in an issue as large as this one? Well, it turns out you can do a lot more than you might think.
Toronto residents Samantha Jackson and Farzin Yousefian were in the middle of planning their dream wedding for March 2016 when the photo of Alan Kurdi appeared on news outlets around the world. Kurdi was the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body recently washed up on a beach in Turkey following an unsuccessful attempt to reach Europe. The image spoke volumes about the kinds of hazards refugees face as they flee their country in the hopes of being taken in by another, more stable nation.
“We kept thinking of this unimaginable decision that so many Syrian families are forced to make,” Jackson told CTV’s Canada AM on Monday.
Jackson also happens to work for the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge, which is co-coordinating the resettlement of 1,000 refugees in the Greater Toronto Area. As a result, the issue of Syria dominated most of their conversations, and they knew they had to take some kind of action.
It was only a matter of time before they realized their wedding would be the best platform to draw attention to Syria, so they decided to cancel the event and turn it into a fundraiser.
“We immediately called our families and they were ecstatic,” Yousefian said. “They just appreciate the fact that now is the time to act. We can’t just be passive observers while this crisis unfolds.”
The couple was able to get a refund for their wedding venue deposit, which they put towards their $27,000 fundraising goal (the amount needed to privately sponsor a family of four). They still got married too, they just did it at a smaller ceremony at Toronto’s City Hall. The reception that followed doubled as a fundraiser.
So far, they’ve amassed more than $22,000. You can make donations to the couple by visiting Lifeline Syria and selecting Yousefian and Jackson’s profile under “Team Leads.”
It’s a small thing you can do right now that will make a huge difference. You can find out more about their fundraiser in the video, above.