We've all seen the images on television or the web: the horror of the Syrian war, the masses of fleeing refugees. So many Canadians want to help...but how? It could be as simple as donating to the Red Cross. Somehow, though, this one called to me for something a little more personal. Perhaps it was partly inspired by a new, hopeful government in Ottawa promising to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada. Partly a desire to be "part of the solution".
Without going into detail, our groups' members found each other and discovered a common goal of actually re-settling at least of few of these far-away fellow human beings in such dire need. Our group members are of various ages, career paths and backgrounds. But in common we all feel a strong urge to make concrete our compassion for the Syrians fleeing their homes and lives.
We soon discovered several possible paths to accomplishing this goal. For starters, Canada has a long and strong history of welcoming and assisting refugees. I remember the Vietnamese refugees in the early 1980s. We researched the Federal government's processes and requirements. We also discovered various charitable organizations with vast experience in supporting immigration and refugee settlement. The Anglican Diocese of Victoria is one such group, and they have encouraged us to proceed. They will act as a "Sponsorship Agreement Holder", basically an interface between us and the federal government. They will help us identify an eligible family, then stand back and let our group pull together the myriad of tasks and resources needed to bring the family to Victoria.
Our core group, which we expect to soon number five, will provide an initial foundation investment towards supporting the resettlement of the family for a year. We need to fund-raise the rest and are busy putting those plans in place.
Our process of identifying, bringing to Victoria, settling and supporting a family has a lot of moving parts! Our group is learning lots as we go. We will keep our friends and contributors up-to-date as we go.