Update

Dear friends,
Thanks to your generous donations, we have reached almost 2/3 of our fundraising goal! This amount meets the government-mandated minimum threshold, and allows us to start the process of sponsoring a family of three. Please stay tuned by reading this blog – we will continue to update you on the sponsorship process as it unfolds.
We are continuing to seek donations to reach our goal of $18,000. Reaching this amount will ensure that the sponsored family has sufficient funds to meet the heightened cost of living in Toronto and make a strong start to their new life in Canada. A level of funding above the government-established minimum will, for example, allow members of the family to participate in education to facilitate their transition; enable the family to obtain childcare to allow attendance at language classes; allow the family to pay for transit and other services; and generally help provide a level of financial security to make this difficult transition a little easier. We encourage you to share the links to this blog, our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/openhearthsponsorship/) and our donation page (https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/25066) to anyone you know who might be able to help.
Thanks also to those of you who have made donations in kind, including furniture and other supplies. When we are matched with a family, we will have a better idea of what physical resources they will require to establish a cozy home, so keep watch on this blog if you want more information on providing in-kind donations. In particular, if you have leads on obtaining affordable housing we would be grateful for any contacts you can provide.
Again – thank you all for your support. We could not do this without you. As ever, let us know if you have any questions!
Sasha, Ahmed, Leith, David, Tom, and Ruth
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We are sponsoring a Syrian refugee family and we need your help!

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Introduction

There are six of us – Sasha, David, Ahmed, Ruth, Leith, and Tom – and we are coming together to sponsor a Syrian refugee family and are hoping for your help. We are calling our group the Open Hearth.

We have partnered with Humanity First, an international humanitarian relief organisation with expertise in refugee sponsorship, to help guide us through the process. They will provide us with information and support throughout the process, but the financial and settlement responsibilities are ours.

[CLICK HERE to be brought to the Canada Helps donation page for our group!]

The Project

We are aiming to sponsor a Syrian refugee family of three. As a group we will be responsible for:

 Greeting the refugees at the airport.

 Helping them find an apartment.

 Helping to connect them with healthcare professionals.

 Helping them enroll their child or children in school.

 Providing all of the financial support in monthly installments for the first 6 months of their lives in Canada.

After 6 months, another sponsorship group will assume responsibility. The form of sponsorship structure we have chosen – sequentially sharing responsibilities with another group working with Humanity First –  means we have the chance to sponsor a group that would likely not have another alternative way to get sponsored.

At this point we are looking for your help with the financial component of our sponsorship responsibilities. Of course if we reach our funding raising goal, or exceed it, we can expand the size of the group we sponsor!

Any left-over funding will go directly to other sponsorship groups that are working with Humanity First.

Our Fundraising Goal

$18,000

All donations are tax-deductible – receipts are issued instantaneously after making a donation thanks to canadahelps.org

[CLICK HERE to be brought to the Canada Helps donation page for our group!]

A Preliminary Financial Breakdown

The money you donate will be going directly to the family we are sponsoring. We are estimating that a family of 3 will need about $18,000 over the first 6 months of their life in Canada. The money will be provided in monthly installments. While it will be up to the family to decide how to spend the money we raise, here is an idea of what the 6-month budget might look like for a family of 3:

Start-up costs: $5,300

Rent: $7,000

Clothing: $1200

Furniture: $2500

Food: $2000

Timeline

January 2016 – fundraising begins.

March 2016 – we submit the paperwork for the size of the group that we can feasibly sponsor with the amount raised.

April 2016 – the family arrives!

October 2016 – our sponsorship obligation ends.

Who we are

Sasha…is a rather quirky lawyer who loves to cook and learn new languages

David….has practised law for many years in securities and governance matters

Ahmed…is an aspiring civil engineer who recently settled in Canada and proudly calls it home

Ruth…is a lawyer and backwoods enthusiast living in Toronto

Leith…is an Ontario government lawyer and a mother of 3 wonderful daughters

Tom…is a bit of a geek who works in university administration

[CLICK HERE to be brought to the Canada Helps donation page for our group!]

More information about our sponsorship

The refugee family will arrive in Canada as permanent residents with the right to work, remain in Canada and have access to free healthcare. We have chosen to partner with Humanity First, who will be responsible for finding another sponsorship group for the last 6 months of the refugee family’s first year in Canada. After the year is complete, the financial and settlement obligations come to an end.

There are certain other government sponsorship programs in which the government pays half or all of the settlement costs, but we have chosen to sponsor without financial assistance from the government.

We have made this choice because refugees who have not been pre-selected for these other sponsorship programs are much less likely to be able to come to Canada without private individuals stepping up to support them.

Therefore, by not taking part in these other programs we have the chance to sponsor a family that would probably not make it to Canada otherwise.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

[CLICK HERE to be brought to the Canada Helps donation page for our group!]

*Please note: if you are interested in participating or initiating a refugee sponsorship yourselves, please send an email to Sasha at sasha[dot]cragg[dot]gore[at]gmail[dot]com who will be happy to point you in the right direction.

A big thank you to Prashant Miranda who commissioned the piece found at the top of this page! Click here to check out more of his work.