On this day we celebrate and reflect on the compassionate work of churches across Canada that have reached out in support of refugees in need of protection and have become neighbours to them. Your prayers and generous gifts on Refugee Sunday will enable World Renew’s Refugee Program to continue to assist churches as they respond to the many refugees in urgent need of protection.
World Renew has Refugee Sunday 2018 resources available now to guide your church as you plan your service.
Change the Story of Refugee Women and Girls
through the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) Program!
Of the 22.5 million refugees in the world today, half are women and girls. On March 8, the world marked International Women’s Day. While the day is an opportunity to celebrate the unique contribution of women in promoting peaceful and vibrant communities around the world, it was also a reminder of the unique challenges, barriers and vulnerabilities that women and girls face.
Refugee women and girls who flee from their home country and who are in asylum in other countries unfamiliar to them are at increased risk precisely because of their gender. Many have suffered rape, sexual violence, physical and mental abuse as well as marginalization in their home country causing them to flee for safety. In countries of asylum, women and girls often continue to face these same threats. Women have limited access to economic resources to provide for themselves and their children and limited access to social networks for protection. While all refugees are beautiful Image-bearers of God who deserve dignity and protection, women and girl refugees are particularly vulnerable. Their stories are heartbreaking. When we hear them, it is easy to feel helpless to be able to respond adequately.
Yet, you can make a difference. Canadian churches have a unique opportunity to respond to the plight of refugee women and girls in a tangible way through Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program. In particular, the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) Program offers churches a meaningful way to get involved by sponsoring vulnerable women and girl refugees in need of resettlement and welcoming them to their communities.
The BVOR Program is ‘blended’, meaning that the costs of the 12-month sponsorship are shared between the Canadian government and the church. Refugees will receive 6 months of financial support from the government of Canada. Sponsors cover just 6 months plus the start-up costs.
We ask that you prayerfully consider encouraging your church to participate in this program. By doing so, you will have the opportunity to walk alongside women and girls as they find hope in a new life in Canada
“Being sponsored has meant a new life for the family we sponsored,” said Karen, from Thunder Bay CRC, a church that welcomed a Syrian family through the BVOR program in March 2017. “They can live without fear of war. They are embracing new opportunities that are available to them.”
Refugee sponsorship is an opportunity to trust in God to provide. “We have seen God’s hands in this sponsorship from the very beginning,” Karen said. “From household goods being donated before we even asked for them, to finding an apartment with an understanding, kind landlord in the perfect area, we have seen firsthand, God’s hand in all we have been able to do.”
Click here to download a poster that World Renew has developed to help you promote the BVOR program in your church.
For more information about Refugee Sunday and refugee sponsorship, including the BVOR program, please contact World Renew’s Refugee Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 800 730 3490.