In August 2015, ICA received approval from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (now Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or IRCC) to become a Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH). Through this framework agreement with the Canadian government, ICA became one of many SAHs across Canada working to resettle refugees through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program.
Through this program, ICA works closely with sponsorship groups who assist with financial obligations, as well as the reception, housing, and care of refugee newcomers when they arrive in Victoria. Many refugees in need of a durable solution have been successfully matched with dedicated sponsorship groups, and ICA is proud to have welcomed 26 newcomers to Victoria thus far through this program. We are expecting many more to arrive over the coming months.
The need for refugee sponsorship remains urgent. Every day, our PSR team meets with concerned family members from countries throughout the Middle East and Africa, desperate to sponsor family members living as refugees, in hope that their loved ones can leave dire situations behind and begin a new phase of life in the safety of Canada.
Months ago we were approached by the local relatives of two families living as refugees in particularly vulnerable circumstances. We are actively looking for groups interested in sponsoring these families:
Syrian family of 7 who has fled brutal conflict in Syria to neighbouring Turkey. They are living in poverty and face great uncertainty regarding their future. This family is comprised of a young widowed mother, her parents, and her four young children. The local sister of the mother in this family is desperate to welcome them into our community to begin a new phase of life, where the children are able to return to school.
Eritrean family of 4 living in Israel. This family, with two young children, fled a climate of human rights offences and indefinite military conscription in Eritrea six years ago. Today, as refugees in Israel, they live in poverty, face mounting prejudice and experience significant barriers to their well-being. The cousin of this family is extremely worried about her relatives and would like them to be resettled here in Victoria.
If you are concerned about the ongoing global refugee crisis and would like to help in a tangible way, please consider forming a sponsorship group. The commitment of financial assistance, reception, and care of these families for their first year in Canada has been described by other sponsors as extremely rewarding and life-changing.
If you are interested in discussing this possibility further, please contact Sabine Lehr, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Although we cannot reverse what has happened in war-torn countries, we can work together to positively impact the lives of those most affected.
Alexandra Dawley, Resettlement Case Worker, Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program