Refugee Sponsorship

Refugee Family Sponsorship

The Canadian Unitarian Council is a Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holder with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This Agreement allows Unitarian congregations to privately sponsor refugee families from war-torn countries.

Following approval from our Board of Trustees in November, 2015, the Unitarian Church of Calgary became a sponsoring congregation, and have sponsored two refugee families in Calgary.

Our Iraqi Family

Our Iraqi family consists of  father Tareq (who is a professional musician), mother Pinar, and three boys ages 12, 10, and 6 years of age. They have repeatedly suffered from sectarian violence, fled Iraq and are living in precarious circumstances in Turkey, where the adults are not allowed to work legally, and the children are not allowed to attend school.

GOOD NEWS: After waiting about a year and a half since UCC’s application for sponsorship was submitted, the family had their interview with Canadian Immigration at the end of September and will arrive in Calgary on March 27!

The Refugee Sponsorship Committee has geared up for their arrival. We have sufficient funds in our bank account to  cover most of the first year of sponsorship, and therefore will not need to do any immediate fundraising, although this may happen several months down the road.  We are grateful to the family of Ron Ayotte, a member of our group who died recently, and whose family suggested that those who wished to honour Ron do so through a donation to the Refugee Sponsorship Fund.

Our Ethiopian Family

Our Ethiopian couple, Desalegnn and Worknesh, are in their mid-thirties with no children, and were living in Kenya, after having suffered violence and torture in their own country. We were thrilled to be able to sponsor them and they arrived in Calgary on September 15, 2016. Thanks to the efforts of a large number of volunteers, they have settled extremely well into Canadian life.
For the past several months, they have been working five days per week cleaning at an office building downtown, while continuing their English studies. Our formal sponsorship came to an end September 15, 2017, one year after their arrival.

In January, Desalegnn plans to look for full-time work and to switch to a part-time ESL program. Workenesh will continue taking full-time ESL at the Welcome Centre for Newcomers and working part-time.