I have some exciting news to share with you! ICA was recently informed that there is a new, time-limited Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) Fund available. What this means is that there are funds available to cover a large portion of the settlement costs associated with the sponsorship of refugees referred to Canada by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Usually, private sponsorship groups need to raise thousands of dollars. But now, thanks to the Refugee Hub in Ottawa and generous funders, sponsorship groups can sign up to sponsor a BVOR case and have minimal fundraising to do! The only uncovered portion that groups need to fundraise are the start-up costs (clothing, furniture, household items), part of which can be covered through in-kind donations. Most of the sponsorship work consists of providing settlement support to the sponsored newcomers during their first year in Canada.
Last year, through the BVOR Fund, the Refugee Hub worked with sponsors, foundations and individual donors across the country to settle 685 refugees in 49 Canadian communities by more than 150 sponsoring groups. This was done in less than two months! I hope Victoria can step up and help be a part of another important year when we provide a safe haven for people fleeing conflicts throughout the world.
If you would like to form a sponsorship group and participate in this incredible opportunity to help a refugee come to Canada, I encourage you to contact ICA’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager, Sabine Lehr as soon as possible to learn more.
Currently, there is a Syrian family of 5 (father, mother and three children) who are hoping to be sponsored so they can join another relative already living in Victoria.
Thank you for all you do to make Victoria a welcoming and inclusive community. Together, we are helping people forced to flee their homelands make a peaceful and permanent new home in Victoria.