These refugees, from countries such as Syria, Ertirea, Congo, and Iraq, have been identified by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) as being in need of resettlement and have been referred to the Canadian government.
There is urgency to identify sponsors for these BVOR refugees because if not sponsored that space in Canada’s annual resettlement quota will be lost, and the number of refugees brought to safety around the world will drop.
Over the last year, the number of refugees resettled worldwide dropped dramatically, from 126,000 in 2017 to a commitment of 65,000 in 2018. There are currently 25.4 million refugees worldwide and the number of people in urgent need of a place to call home grows every day.
On August 8, 2018, the University of Ottawa Refuge Hub, Jewish Family Service Ottawa, an anonymous Canadian donor and the Shaprio Foundation announced the creation of an exciting new fund that will cover the cost of a BVOR sponsorship for one year. The fund is designed to encourage Canadians to reach out to their neighbor and offer protection to these many BVOR refugees in need of safety. Jointly, the donors have offered more than a million dollars to ensure that Canada meets its refugee resettlement targets.
World Renew’s Refugee Program is encouraging Canadian churches to consider participating in this unique opportunity. The Refugee Program will provide assistance every step of the way.
Churches will have to act quickly, as a refugee sponsorship application must be submitted by September 17 in order for a group to have a chance to access the fund.
All refugees identified to be part of the BVOR program are approved for resettlement and are travel ready. That means that sponsored refugees will generally arrive in Canada between one and three months after a match is made.
BVOR sponsorship is an excellent opportunity for churches that have never participated in refugee sponsorship to get involved in a program that is life-giving in so many different ways. As Ruth Lee, a refugee sponsorship volunteer at Kanata CRC said, “being a refugee is a hard, tough, demanding life. As the smiles appear, the stress levels decrease, the trust grows and the laughter returns and you know [the sponsorship] was all worthwhile.”
To learn more about participating in this opportunity please call or email Rebecca Walker, Refugee Program Coordinator at 1-800-730-3490
Attention Churches in Southern Ontario
On September 20 and 21, the Refugee Program invites you to join best-selling author and blogger Ann Voskamp as she shares about her own journey as a refugee sponsor in an event called “Choose Welcome."
This event offers the opportunity to hear Voskamp’s passionate response to the refugee crisis and the joys and challenges of refugee resettlement.
To reserve a free seat for the September 20 event in St. Catharines, Ontario click here.
To reserve a free seat for the September 21 event in Oakville, click here.