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Refugees

REFUGEE COMMITTEE UPDATE
We have many willing committee members who wish to help with the work but we are in need of a coordinator(s) with a passion to bring a refugee family to our community. Call Dorothy at 705-324-7750 or Glenda at 705-340-5357.

by
Doreen Gowans
National Chairperson of Community Life
“Wherever there are people in need of food and drink, clothing, housing, medicine, employment, education; wherever men [or women] lack the facilities necessary for living a truly human life or are afflicted with serious distress or illness or suffer exile or imprisonment, there Christian charity should seek them out and find them, console them with great solicitude, and help them with appropriate relief This obligation is imposed above all upon every prosperous nation and person.”

“In 1918, all nationally organized groups were called to Ottawa to share their opinions with the federal government about the settling of immigrants flocking to Canada.” As there was no representative from any Catholic women’s group, Bellelle Guerin, president of the Catholic Women’s Club of Montreal, was contacted and met with the federal minister. Shortly thereafter, The Catholic Women’s League of Canada was formed on June 17, 1920.

Did you know the federal government has committed to taking in an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees and 3,000 more Iraqi refugees? To encourage and help sponsorship, the Blended Visa Office-Referred (VOR) Program was created. This program matches refugees identified for resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees with private sponsors in Canada. The Blended VOR Program is a cost-sharing program where Citizenship and Immigration Canada contributes financially to supporting the refugees. Under this program, refugees have already met the eligibility and admissibility criteria making them ready to travel to Canada. The refugees will receive income support through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) for up to six months after their arrival.

Why should you get involved?
Eritrean refugees in Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Kenya are facing:
persecution of religious minorities (only four recognized religions).

  • human rights issues such as torture, forced labour violent
    retaliation on family.
  • encounters with border guards who have shoot-to-kill orders.
  • cases of abductions and disappearances during border crossings.
  • human trafficking, sexual exploitation, forced labour and being held for ransom.
    Iraqis, Iranians and Syrians are facing:
    mass exodus as millions have fled Iraq since the 2003 Iraq War
  • persecution of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, activists and journalists, and persons of certain professions.
  • human rights violations including beatings, torture and assassinations.
    Other populations from various countries around the world are facing similar persecutions.
    Sponsors are required to provide:
  • Reception
  • Housing and necessities
  • Settlement assistance (including language classes, enrollment in school, finding a health care provider, job
    search, etc.)
  • Emotional and moral support Refugees are expected to:
  • work in conjunction with their sponsors to develop a detailed plan with the goal of becoming independent and self-sufficient at the end of the sponsorship program.
  • remain in their sponsorship community for the duration of the sponsorship period.

Refugees should not need to access social services during the sponsorship period as they should be receiving sufficient support from their sponsors.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in obtaining more information on becoming a sponsor, please contact Felisa Ponce, Refugee Resettlement Project Worker for Catholic Crosscultural Services at 1-877-290-1701 or e-mail fponce@rstp.ca.

Pope Francis has stated, “Christians who are just sitting, staying still, will not truly see the face of God. They have not seen it. They may say, `God is like this and that’ but they don’t really know. To move forward, you need that restlessness, that God Himself has planted in our hearts. It moves us forward as we seek God.” The theme for the next two years invites us to become involved. The League was formed when members were called to action by the federal government to help immigrants. Do you see your council, yourself or someone you know reaching out to welcome a refugee or a refugee family?

Used with permission.
SPRING 2015 / THE CANADIAN LEAGUE

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