In the spring of 2011, attempts at democratic reform in Syria led to a civil war that has raged for the past five years. The fighting in Syria has resulting in over 4.5 million refugees of which more than half are children. These refugees have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq in hope of finding safety for their children and family. The plight of these refugees represents one of the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II. Canada is offering to welcome refugee families to our country and we want Georgetown to be part of this initiative. Syrian refugees will come to Canada either through government or private sponsorship initiatives. All of the government sponsored refugee placements have been filled and now only privately sponsored refugees will be coming to Canada.
The Halton Hills Coalition for Refugees (HHCR) was formed as a non-denominational community sponsorship (CS) group with a goal to sponsor Syrian Refugee families for resettlement within our community. Under HHCR, groups of 15 families form to sponsor and support one Syrian Refugee family. These Syrian refugee families have been screened by the UN High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) and by the Canadian government. The are many different private sponsorship mechanisms, but HHCR is working within the Blended Visa Office Referred Program (BVOR) whereby Syrian refugee families are sponsored by both a community sponsor (HHCR) and the federal government. Our members contribute $15,000 ($1,000 per family) and are then charged with fundraising an additional $15,000 from the community at large ($30,000 in total). The government will contribute $15,000 to provide for an annual budget of $45,000.
There are currently two groups within HHCR (HHCR-01 and HHCR-02) and the first group is fully funded and is expecting to be connecting with a family soon. The second group (HHCR-02) has raised $15,000 and has secured housing and some furnishings. We need to have $30,000 raised before we are eligible to sponsor a family. Time is of the essence, as additional families will be available for resettlement in Canada as of March 7th. As part of our fund raising activities we are asking for a contribution from the community.
We want to welcome these families into our community and support them in successfully reaching their dream of a better life and a future for their children. We believe this is a great community initiative and will help build a better Georgetown through a legacy that we and our children can be proud of.
How can you help?
Make a donation to HHCR-02 through email transfer HHCR02@gmail.com or by cheque to HHCR02 care of Cynthia Russel, 47 Arborglen Drive, Georgetown, ON L7G 6L2