Today I’d like to tell you about an initiative I’m excited to be part of – and to solicit your support.
Earlier this year, prompted by my humanitarian interests, my work in international migration policy, and mostly by concern for the plight of so many individuals and families seeking safety and shelter from war, I teamed up with colleagues and friends to privately sponsor a refugee family for resettlement to Ottawa, Canada. We officially launched our fundraising campaign just under 2 weeks ago.
As sponsors, we are responsible for raising enough money to support the family for a year (estimated to be $40k for a family of four in Ottawa) and once the family arrives, we are committed to providing integration support for their first year of settlement (e.g., finding an apartment, learning the bus system, registering for school, helping navigate the healthcare system, etc.).
We’re thrilled at the support we’ve received to date – we have already managed to raise over $27,000! – but we still have a ways to go. I hope some of you out there might consider donating to this worthy cause (Note: FundRazr accepts international donations).
Even more exciting, we think we have identified a family to sponsor. While we wait for this to be confirmed so we can start filling out all the forms, we are continuing to get things in order – finding housing, a doctor and dentist, seeking household items, acquainting ourselves with the specific sponsorship responsibilities, and of course continuing to fund raise. As soon as everything is approved, we’ll be able to share more of who they are and where they come from, but for now it is rewarding to see things moving along.
Canada is unique in its private sponsorship program – most major resettlement countries bring refugees to their shores through government sponsorship, and Canada does that too, but we also have a program through which private individuals can come together to sponsor refugees themselves. Because this involves a small, personal support network and communities coming together from the beginning to help settle, support and integrate arrivals, privately sponsored refugees often integrate very well into Canadian society.
I’m proud to be part of this country, this tradition and our current resettlement efforts. I’m proud to be doing something, anything. There are so many people who need a helping hand, both abroad and here in Canada, and there are so many ways to help, to ale a difference, to contribute.
Thank you to those of you who took the time to read through to the end of this post, and especially to those who might be considering providing some support to our efforts. If you are interested, I encourage you to follow our progress on the FundRazr site and on our WordPress page.