We are a group of eight young Ottawans who are sponsoring a new Canadian through the government's Blended Visa Officer Referral (BVOR) program for refugees. We are looking to raise funds to help support a newcomer in her first year in Canada. Through the BVOR program, the federal government provides 6 months of basic funding and a private philanthropic donor fund covers an additional 6 months (more information available below).
Although the provided funds are a great foundation, we are interested in raising additional funds to account for the relative high cost of living in Ottawa and establish a comfortable living situation for our newcomer. She is a young woman in her early 20s, and will arrive in the city between November and December of this year.
Additional funds would help with the following
-Language training materials
-Clothing and personal products
-Start up costs for living arrangements
-Supplement food and transportation budgets
-Registration fees and supplies for activities (athletic activities, hobbies, etc.)
-Gift cards to local coffee shops and restaurants
-Admission fees to cultural and social activities (concerts, museums, shows)
-Possible supplemental medical services (i.e. dental, counselling) not covered by the public healthcare system
We are responsible for welcoming her at the airport; finding and furnishing her accommodations; setting her up with necessary paperwork and accounts; helping her access various services; and, all around, assisting her to navigate life in Ottawa for her first year here. One hundred percent of the donations will go directly to support her in Ottawa.
If you cannot provide a financial donation but are interested in supporting us through donations of furniture, adult winter clothing or household items, or can offer other services or contacts, please get in touch!
Privately-sponsored individuals tend to have more success settling in a new community than those who are government-assisted. OTTWelcome hopes to make this transition a positive one for our newcomer and we thank you for your support!
*About the BVOR program*
The BVOR program is designed to resettle refugees identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as being among the most vulnerable in their current setting. Individuals referred through the program might be women or girls; members of the LGBTQ2 community; survivors of violence or torture; and others who do not have access to durable solutions for settlement.
The Government of Canada holds spaces for up to 1500 individuals per year through the BVOR program. As of mid-2018, only about 500 of those spaces were sponsored, meaning around 1000 people are not being afforded the opportunity to come to Canada. We are joining multiple other sponsorship groups to address this gap, with the aim of ensuring that as many individuals and families as possible can start anew in Ottawa.
*Other sources of funds*
The BVOR program is a blended initiative, meaning that the Government of Canada provides our newcomer with a basic income for six months. Luckily for us, we also have access to a new BVOR fund set up this year through philanthropic donations that will support her for the remaining six months. However, the existing funding is not quite enough to ensure that she gets through her first year in Canada comfortably, and we will be fundraising and drawing on our own resources a lot more going forward.
*Constituency group and sponsorship agreement holder*
As part of the BVOR program, our sponsorship group is working with the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa as our sponsorship agreement holder (SAH) and Jewish Family Services of Ottawa as our constituent group. Both organizations have extensive experience with refugee settlement in the city, and we are grateful for their support as we work through this process.
A SAH is an organization that has signed a sponsorship agreement with the Government of Canada to help support refugees from abroad when they resettle in Canada. SAHs can sponsor refugees themselves or work with others in the community to sponsor refugees. A constituent group is any group authorized by a SAH to sponsor refugees under the sponsorship agreement. For more information, please click here.
Thank you for your consideration!
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- Jawdat Saleh
Fundraising team: OTTWelcome (7)
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