Oscar Schindler saved the lives thousands of jews from the camps set up in Nazi Germany. He had to buy them from the Nazis as industrial workers. One Canadian businessman decided to follow by bank rolling resettlement of almost 200 refugees from war torn Syria.
Livebarta team feels Mr. Jim Estill deserves to be recognized for his contribution to humanity in this day and age.
Over the summer of 2015, Jim Estill, a Canadian business executive from Guelph, a town in south western Ontario, watched the Syrian refugee crises unfold night after night half a world away on television.
Frustrated, on not enough being done fast enough, he put together CA$ 1.5 million of his own money to bring in over 50 refugee families to Canada and settle them in into their new lives.
Canada allows private citizens, along with authorized sponsorship groups, to directly sponsor refugees by providing basic needs like food, clothing, shelter and help support them to integrate into Canadian society.
Estill would be the money man, but he needed partners to make a big impact.
So he brought together several faith based organizations, who were already looking to find ways to help out the millions affected by the Syrian civil war.
Sara Sayyed remembers the night her husband, president of the Muslim Society of Guelph, came back after meeting Jim Estill and broke down in tears telling her about Estill’s plan.
By winter of 2015, thousands wrote and emailed from Turkey, from Palestine and from within Syria asking: ‘Are you real? Can you help us? Can you do something?’
The dining table at his home disappeared under a pile of sponsorship applications. Starting with a target of only 25 families fifty eight families were eventually selected.
But that was the first challenge.
The sponsored families started to arrive at a trickle. Long delays in government processing came at a cost.
“I was completely taken by surprise it would take so long for the Canadian government to let people in,” says Estill. “That cost everyone a lot.”
By December 2016, 47 of the 58 families had arrived in Guelph.
To help the newcomers, Jim Estill, launched various programs from English learning to basic job market trainings to provide livelihood for the families.
“I don’t want to bring the families and put them on welfare,” he says, adding if that happens, “then I have failed.”