What Do We Know?
There are more displaced people in the world today than there was at the end of the Second World War. Since 2011, violent civil conflict in the country of Syria has caused millions of people to fear for the lives. As a result of this violent conflict, over four million men, women and children have fled the country with concerns for their safety. We know that over seven million people are currently displaced within their own country. The majority of the refugees have migrated across borders, with over 1.6 million currently residing in Turkey, and a further 1.2 million currently with refugee status in Lebanon. Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan, Iraq and Egypt have all taken on a great amount of displaced persons as well. As the conflict in Syria has increased, many are attempting to enter Europe through a variety of highly dangerous methods. As countries are struggling to help those who have left their homes, help is needed as millions are looking to build a sense of stability amongst a sea of confusion.
Are We Helping?
Absolutely. Our ministry partner, the Free Evangelical Association of Lebanon (FEAL) has been working in the country to promote long-term, holistic transformation to those who have lost their homes. FEAL has been working in the region since 1994 and in 2011 began to focus heavily on helping those entering the country from Syria. Their work with refugees is part of the Oasis program, which seeks to help displaced families in three key ways:
- Immediate relief in the form of care packages
- Weekly programs that create a safe environment where women and children can come and have their dignity restored
- Train and equip Christian leaders as part of their long term vision of rebuilding the Church in the Middle East
How Can You Join Us in Helping?
Get involved! You can directly partner with the Free Evangelical Association of Lebanon to help them provide various services to incoming refugees. In a world that is currently looking for answers, FEAL is taking action to help families ensure that their children do not grow up in refugee camps. You can find out more about the work that FEAL is doing in the region by visiting their page, which you can locate by clicking here. Looking to get directly in contact with us to ask more questions? You can find out how to contact us directly by visiting the “Contact Us” section of the website, we would love to tell you more about the wonderful work our partner is doing! If you feel moved to take action to help, you can donate to the Free Evangelical Association of Lebanon by visiting here.
Partners International has also recently produced a short film on the work that our ministry partner is doing to share God’s unconditional love in practical ways. You can watch and share this amazing film by clicking here.
Is Partners International currently involved in bringing refugees to Canada?
Partners International Canada is not currently involved in the process of bringing refugees to Canada.
Can Canadians sponsor a refugee?
Refugee Sponsorship can be done through the Canadian government in 3 ways and relevant forms to begin the process can be found at:
- Sponsorship agreement holders (SAH)
- Large organizations that have signed an agreement with the government of Canada as confirmed sponsorship organizations (Example: The Presbyterian Church, The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada). A full list of who they are can be found at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/sponsor/list-sponsors.asp they are listed as the most effective way to bring refugees to Canada.
- SAH groups work to provide Canadians with access to refugees as well as providing oversight and monitoring once the refugees arrive in country
- Churches can join with SAH groups and become a Constituent Group.
- Groups of 5
- Five or more Canadian citizens that will pool their resources to support a refugee.
- Community Sponsors
- Can be an organization, association, or corporation that seeks to sponsor a refugee
What does it mean to sponsor a family?
Sponsors are expected to provide a level of support that is at least equal to that of the prevailing rates for social assistance in the expected community of settlement. Sponsors are generally expected to fulfil their obligations for 12 months.
- The Government of Canada officially requires at least $27,000 for a family of 4
- Private sponsors can choose to help a specific refugee, for example, a family member of someone already in Canada or a person or family already known to be in need.
- If already aware of the refugee’s name and status, groups can specifically request a person (if there is a desire to sponsor a Christian refugee, they must be identified to the sponsoring group before beginning the paperwork process)
- The Canadian government continues to recommend that the most effective way to sponsor a family is through connecting with a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, other options will take significantly longer to process
- Sponsoring groups are responsible for:
- Welcoming the refugees at the airport, and providing an orientation to life in Canada
- Providing suitable accommodation, basic furniture and other household essentials
- Providing food, clothing, local transportation costs and other basic necessities of life
- Helping the refugees:
- Complete any required forms, including health insurance, social insurance and child tax benefits
- Learn English or French (e.g., help with getting into an English-as-a- second-language or French-as-a-second-language class, provide tutoring)
- Understand the rights and responsibilities of permanent residents
- Find a job and make friends
- Learn about and access services that are available in the community
- Register children in school and guide them in dealings with the school system
- Locate a family physician and dentist
- Become independent.
*The Canadian government has recently noted that they will be matching all donations made by Canadians to help provide for the basic needs of refugees