Operation Sponsor Surge
Over a thousand refugees are in need of Canadian Sponsors through the Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) program. With close to 1000 Canadian resettlement spaces at risk in 2018, refugees need you to step up now.
Above: Wissam, a Syrian refugee living in Toronto, and Janet Dowler hug in a Toronto Park. © Stephanie Foden/Amnesty International
OPERATION SPONSOR SURGE
Did you know that Canada has approved more than 1000 refugees abroad for resettlement through a special sponsorship program, and all that is needed is ordinary Canadians stepping up to help!
These refugees, from countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Congo and Iraq, have received full background checks and are ready to travel. The Canadian government will pay almost half the cost of sponsorship and local services will provide advice and support to the sponsorship groups.
But these women, men and children can’t come unless people like you become their sponsors, providing some financial and practical support for the first year of their life in Canada.
If an approved case is not picked up within this special program, we lose that spot in Canada’s annual resettlement quota, and the number of refugees brought to safety around the world drops. In the past year, the number refugees resettled worldwide decreased drastically from 126,000 to 65,000, yet the amount of people in urgent need of a safe place to call home grows daily.
Worse, in 2017, hundreds of refugee cases destined for Canada were not picked up because of a lack of sponsors — and more than 900 cases are at risk in 2018.
Canadian refugee sponsors share their sponsorship stories.
What is the BVOR program?
- The Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) program is a uniquely Canadian opportunity for private citizens to be involved in sponsoring refugees and share the settlement costs with the federal government. The government will pay almost half of the resettlement costs.
- All refugees on the BVOR list are approved for resettlement and are travel ready. This means there is significantly less paperwork, and the sponsored refugees will arrive within 1 to 3 months.
- You are able to choose a profile from the BVOR list of refugees. Profiles include specific information such as family size, country of origin, etc.
- Our network of citizens and organizations is here to help you every step of the way! We will provide you with advice and support during the application, arrival and settlement process. There are also a number of accessible, user-friendly resources about the BVOR program, including the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program’s website.
- Sponsors raise approximately $9,900 for one person to $18,100 for a family of four.
Find our more information in the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program website
Our partners at the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program are here to help you every step of the way.
Watch this video to learn more about the BVOR program
Still Thinking About Becoming a Sponsor?
You can still get involved while you get organized!
THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW
> SHARE THIS CALL FOR CANADIAN REFUGEE SPONSORS WITH COLLEAGUES, FAMILY, FRIENDS, SOCIAL GROUPS, AND YOUR COMMUNITY!
Send this page to your friends and family on social media or through email, or spread the word about the need for Canadian sponsors using the hashtag #SponsorSurge.
Extend the call for sponsors to your friends and family. Remember to add a link to this webpage in your photo caption.
> Ask a book club to read a book written by a refugee or about refugees and use your book club as an opportunity to discuss the current refugee crisis.
> Ask a local library to host a “refugee author weekend,” featuring books written by and about refugees.
> Ask your local faith leader to include a sermon on the role of the faith community in supporting refugees this summer and ask members of your faith community if they would like to support refugees.
WITH 1–2 PEOPLE, 1 WEEK OR LESS TO PLAN
> WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR ON WHY YOUR TOWN SHOULD WELCOME REFUGEES
Make your voice heard in your local community. Write a letter to your town or city’s newspaper, telling them why your community should welcome refugees and highlighting June 20 as World Refugee Day.
WITH 2–4+ PEOPLE, 1 WEEK TO PLAN
> SET UP A TABLE AT YOUR LOCAL FARMER’S MARKET, LIBRARY, OR CAFÉ
Explain the desperate need for Canadians to sponsor refugees. Bring a laptop and show videos about refugee journeys.
> OFFER A VIRTUAL REALITY EXPERIENCE
I Am Rohingya is an immersive virtual reality film which takes you into the world of Jamalida, who fled violence in Myanmar and is now living in a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Use our virtual reality guide and watch I Am Rohingya at https://bit.ly/2I679tn.
WITH 4+ PEOPLE, 3-5 WEEKS TO PLAN
> HOST A POTLUCK
Host a potluck dinner in support of refugees and invite your friends, family, neighbors, faith community, Facebook friends, or anyone else you believe could be interested in supporting refugees in your community. Consider inviting representatives from your local refugee resettlement agency to talk about current efforts to support refugees; and refugees or other newcomers in the community to bring a dish from their home country. If you’d prefer not to have it at home: approach a local restaurant, community center, school, or other public place about hosting the event.
> SHARE THE STORIES OF REFUGEES BY SHOWING A MOVIE
Host an indoor or outdoor screening of a popular or classic movie featuring refugees, like Superman, El Norte, or Children of Men, and encourage attendees to take action in support of refugees after the film.
Need More Information?
Interested in Sponsorship? Contact Parastoo Aznavehzadeh, Refugee Sponsorship Training Program at firstname.lastname@example.org