May 2023 Update
From living in a refugee camp in Kenya to arriving in Toronto has been a major journey for Abdikadir, Asho, and their sons. Through all these changes, both practical and cultural, they have been supported by the strong team of volunteers that make up the Refugee Settlement Committee.
Now, the family is adjusting to life in Canada. During the first two months, the Refugee Settlement Committee met weekly, with reports of many registrations and numerous appointments – all the immediate needs. In April, we met every other week, with much less to report, and beginning in May, monthly meetings are being planned. The aim of any settlement is that newcomers will learn to navigate their new life more and more independently. There will undoubtedly be further challenges requiring both personal and financial support, but it has been heartwarming to see how successfully this family is managing such a major transition. Please keep them in your prayers and watch for further news.
If you are interested in learning more about the committee, its work, and volunteer opportunities, please contact Alison Colvin.
If you’d like to contribute to welcoming this family to Canada, you can donate through Canadahelps.org and the Welcome Abdikadir and Family to Canada campaign page. Canadahelps.org will provide an immediate tax receipt. If you’d like to discuss other ways to contribute, please contact Alison Colvin. The more we are able to contribute to the family’s first year in a new country, the fewer expenses they will have to deal with.
As always, we and the family are very grateful for the engagement of the Redeemer congregation in this ministry of welcoming the stranger. Thank you for your donations and your interest, and watch for more news after their arrival!
The West has been watching in horror as as Russia invades and appears intent on demolishing Ukraine. At Church of the Redeemer, we support Ukrainians by donating or by providing resources or space. We invite you to do the same. Helpful websites include:
- Ukrainian Immigrant Aid Society https://cuias.org/wp/
- Ukrainian Canadian Congress https://www.ucc.ca
- and for those who can help with housing, https://www.icanhelp.host/
How you can help
- Donate to our current sponsorship. You can do so through Canada Helps.
- Become a member of our group. We can always use extra hands to greet people at the airport, orient them to the City of Toronto, help with medical appointments and educational needs, etc.
- With the current flight of millions of refugees from Ukraine compounding the already existing worldwide refugee crisis, ever more refugees are in need of shelter. The Redeemer Refugee Committee would like to bring your attention to Techfugees. This international digital service connects refugee claimants to vacant houses or apartments.
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
Back in 2016, in the midst of the surge of Syrian refugees, Mary Jo Leddy gave this advice: “Pay attention; don’t wait until you are ready; do what you can.” An MPP in the audience spoke up: “I’ve been waiting to do something, because I didn’t think I was ready, and I didn’t know what to do. Now I do, so if you’re interested in joining me, call my office tomorrow.”
In this spirit, write to your MPs and urge them to open our borders to refugees from around the world. Please consider using this letter, as is or revised. It calls on the Canadian government to reactivate and increase the Blended Visa Office-Referred (BVOR) programme. Understandably, refugees coming with the support of sponsorship groups such as ours at Redeemer are more readily settled than those simply coming as government sponsored refugees. The letter also calls for increasing admissions to Canada, to benefit both those displaced from their homelands and Canadian society at large. A large number of letters from constituents will indicate to our representatives that this is an important issue worthy of their attention.
For further information or to become involved, please contact Alison Colvin.
Who we are
The Redeemer Refugee Committee is an interfaith group working since 2015 with the Anglican United Refugee Alliance (AURA) to sponsor refugees. In the past five years, our group has settled one family and five individuals. We are currently waiting to settle a Somali family coming from the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. If you are interested in being part of the settlement group, please contact Alison Colvin.
On Refugee Sunday, November 7, 2021 Dr. Mary Jo Leddy gave the homily at the 9:30 and 11:15 services. “We Can Do This” was an inspiring call to continue our work of welcoming the stranger. The founder of Romero House, a community welcoming refugees since 1991, Dr. Leddy has written many books, including At the Border Called Hope and The Other Face of God, both giving faces and personal stories of the perseverance of those fleeing their homelands to find refuge in Canada. Listen to her homily here.