In 2015, a dedicated group of volunteers from the Redeemer and the wider community came together to support the work of sponsoring individuals and families who are refugees.
Who we are
The Redeemer Refugee Committee is an interfaith group working with the Anglican United Refugee Alliance (AURA) to sponsor refugees. In the past five years, our group has settled one family and five individuals. In 2022 we hope to settle a Somali family currently in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. If you are interested in being part of this group, please contact Henry Krol or Alison Colvin through the church office
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.
How you can help
There are a number of ways to help.
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..
If you would like to donate to the current sponsorship, please make out a cheque to the Church of the Redeemer and specify ¨for refugee settlement¨. You can also donate through the Canada Helps website by searching for the Church of the Redeemer and then clicking on Refugee Settlement Committee in the drop down menu.
Just before newcomers arrive, there is always the need to furnish an apartment or house. The congregation will be alerted when newcomers are to arrive. All past and future donations are gratefully received, but tax receipts cannot be issued, nor can storage be provided ahead of arrival. If you have items to donate and can store them, please contact Susanna Jacob through the church office.
Please consider sending a copy of this letter, as is or revised, to your MP. 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 or Henry Krol.
Sponsoring Refugee Family - Update
We at Church of the Redeemer have put our faith into action by supporting refugees from four countries over the years, and will be called on to continue this ministry in the future.
The Refugee Settlement Committee continues to meet periodically, with hopes that immigration opens and the family we are waiting to sponsor will eventually be able to come to Canada.
September 2022 update
Abdikadir, Asho, and their sons are closer to coming to Canada! You, the members of Church of the Redeemer, have been generous in supporting the refugee settlement ministry in the past, and we are asking for your participation now.
Here are ways that you can help:
- Contact co-chairs Alison Colvin or Henry Krol with any suggestions for temporary or permanent housing for this family of 8. We do not have an exact date of arrival; it may be several weeks or a very few months, but we are expecting it to be soon, and are looking into all possibilities.
- Get in touch with committee member Susanna Jacob if you have furniture or other supplies to donate. We do not have storage facilities, but will arrange for pick-up once housing is settled. Lists of specific needs will come in the next few weeks.
- Contact committee member Mary Horan with clothing donations. She will provide you with specific needs and sizes.
The family has been living in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya for many years, and has been waiting to come to Canada for a few years now. They have gone through security and medical checks. The committee has been asked to set up settlement and quarantine plans, as well as a budget for the year that we will be supporting the family in settling into their new country. These are all signs that at last Abdikadir, Asho, and their family will soon arrive in Canada.
Thank you for whatever you are able to do to help welcome them to their new home.
The father, Abdikadir, now in his mid-40s, fled on his own to Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya from Somalia when he was a young teenager, after his parents and sister had been killed. Over the years he found employment with NGOs and learned English. With his dedication to improving his English and his own life, he became a leader in his section of the camp. He teaches both English and reconciliation skills to the diverse people who find their way to Dadaab.
He met and married Asho in the camp, and they have six sons, the youngest, Ayub, born just this spring. All are healthy and doing well. The older boys are in school and Zakaria, the eldest, is a strong student aiming to become a neurosurgeon. His grandparents, killed in Somalia, were educated journalists. His father, Abdikadir, is a community leader with hopes of training as a human rights lawyer once the family has come to Canada. Zakaria´s plans are not unrealistic, given his family background. They just require the opportunity to move to the land of his dreams.
Life in Dadaab presents innumerable challenges, from food uncertainty to the uncertainty of the future of the camp itself. Last year the Kenyan government and the UNHCR agreed to a blueprint calling for the dissolution of the camp as early as this June. Abdikadir reports that they have not heard of an official agreement, but that he thinks there is a gentleman´s agreement between the government and UNHCR. Living under this kind of unpredictability clearly adds to the stress of being a refugee in the first place.
And of course, if you’d like to donate to the Refugee Settlement Committee to maintain optimism that we will welcome Abdikadir and his family as soon as possible, please go to canadahelps.org.
In addition we can support Ukrainians by donating or by providing resources or space. While the West watches in horror as Russia invades and appears intent on demolishing Ukraine, we must not lose sight of the millions of displaced individuals and families in other parts of the world. Until Abdikadir, Asho, Zakaria, Ayub, and the rest of their family can come to Canada, please continue to keep them in your thoughts. A more direct action you can take is to write to your MPs and urge them to open our borders to refugees from around the world.
Until then, let us support efforts to help Ukrainians. 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/ .
No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
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. The initiative is supported by Romero House refugee settlement programme, as they reach out to individuals and companies who would be willing to provide short- or long-term housing to refugee claimants.