A Syrian child giggles as she sees herself on Elly Thorn’s new music video. It plays on a large screen during a news conference in Saskatoon.
Thorn, a singer-songwriter from Saskatchewan, asked local refugee families to be a part of the video, which she turned into a major fundraising effort. Every dollar raised by downloading Thorn’s song “You Didn’t Even Know Me” will go to organizations that support Syrian refugees.
Thorn said two women approached her with tears in their eyes after hearing her perform the song last year. They asked if she’d consider using the track to help Syrian refugees in Canada.
During Friday’s launch, Saskatoon businessman Kay Nasser announced he would match up to $100,000 dollars raised through the song. A Lebanese immigrant with family in Syria, Nasser said he was compelled to help.
Nasser also donated $10,000 to Saskatoon’s Open Door Society and Global Gathering Place.
“All the money that comes to our organization, we think very carefully about how we’re going to spend that and really want to make sure the clients will benefit directly from it,” said Afton Tolley, program director with Global Gathering Place.
She foresees the donation helping with things like transportation to medical appointments, interpreters and language classes.
Tolley said the four Syrian families featured in the music video have taken a Life Skills training at Global Gathering Place and now have permanent accommodations, but are still waiting for language classes.