Proceeds of Powerful New Song to Be Donated to Syrian Refugees

Graphics by Carol Noël ©2017

Belleville, ON, Canada

April 2017

Two acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriters, Jeanette Arsenault (Belleville, ON) and Marie-Lynn Hammond (Cobourg, ON), have collaborated on a moving and powerful song inspired by the Syrian refugee experience called “Welcome to Canada.”

“Welcome to Canada” is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and 100 other digital download sites. Says Ms. Arsenault, “We’re donating all proceeds from sales to the United Syrian Family Support (USFS) group in Belleville, where I live. USFS will use the money to help the refugee families they’ve sponsored in whatever way those families need.”

In December 2015, USFS—a coalition of faith groups consisting of over 80 volunteers— welcomed the Al Mansours, a Syrian refugee family of five, to Belleville. Since then, another 18 members of their extended family who’d remained in refugee camps have been sponsored by the coalition and are now reunited with the Al Mansours.

As the Al Mansour family wrote, “On December 7th, our plane landed in Ottawa. We had one suitcase, one cardboard box, and uncertainty and nervousness and worry. How would our three boys be? How would we eat? We could not say ‘Hello,’ or ‘Thank you,’ or ‘Yes, please.’ In Belleville, strangers then but ‘our family’ now, help us…. We have a second life in a safe world, a future without explosions and danger.”

Ms. Arsenault and Ms. Hammond had never written a song together before. “However,” says Ms. Hammond, “we both felt very strongly about the refugee crisis. When we debuted ‘Welcome to Canada’ at a concert last year, we weren’t sure what to expect. But it got a standing ovation.”

To mark the launch of the recorded version, Ms. Arsenault recently performed the song at the Islamic Society of Belleville, where it was also warmly received.

As the chorus of the song states, “Welcome to Canada / Bienvenue au Canada / Our home and native land is now your country too.”