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Private Sponsorship of Refugees in Nanaimo

Mar 26, 2017

My experience of private sponsorship has been enriching and I have learned a huge amount from my new friends. Canada has a unique system of private individuals supporting families of refugees who succeed more often and in more ways than if they do not have the social, economic and physical assistance in the first year or two in Canada. I want people in Canada to know how wonderful and important to me this last year has been. I know that the process has just begun and that we were ill prepared for the Syrian refugees. We have learned a lot about the people who have come and what we know now is that they have deep connections back in Syria as well as all over the world due to the diaspora of their family members being displaced and reestablishing themselves in whatever country would take them.

The private sponsorship requires time and energy, it is at times frustrating and at others joyful. If we want to be successful in welcoming the newcomers to Canada we must make sure the families who have arrived so far have the support they need to learn the language and have opportunities to work and live decent lives here in Canada. Most families who live here now have family members in precarious positions and they will try to help their families because that is what one does. The newcomers will send money to their family even if it means they suffer themselves. They will ask more Canadians if they will form a group of five who will commit to raising the money to support the family members who are still in precarious or dangerous circumstances as the war in Syria continues to rage on. 

I hope to continue to raise awareness here in Nanaimo about the very real need of each newcomer from Syria's need re-unify their family. This is what would alleviate the very real loneliness,  worries and guilty feelings as they adjust to living in our communities. We need to make sure that this resettlement goes well for the adults and the children whom we have brought here or it will be on us to fix the problems that arise when you do not adequately support a person or family. Now is the time to put in the effort of education and inclusion. 



“We didn’t think about what success would look like,” Ms. Stark said. “We just thought about changing the life of one family.”

From a New York Times article

Canadians Adopted
Refugee Families for a Year.
Then Came ‘Month 13.’

Everyday Canadians spent a year embracing Syrians
in the world’s most personal resettlement program.
Letting them go might be the biggest test yet.