This work often contains difficult stories, situations and heart-stopping narratives. So the moments that capture hope, joy and life particularly stand out as memorable.
This week I had the privilege of submitting a sponsorship application for a family that fled their home country in December 2012. They arrived in what they hoped would be a safe country, only to find new threats, and to have suddenly become refugees.
It is difficult for us to imagine what that would be like. Perhaps the first few choices are simple: to leave your home or be killed ... and not just you, but your spouse ... your children. It makes good sense to leave. Falsely accused, it is impossible to present your side of the story. No one in authority will listen. You are on the wrong side. So you move to a new town, perhaps in a new province. Maybe stay with some relatives for a few weeks.
Use this one-page resource outlining 10 practical ways former refugees are good for Canada to inform the people in your circles.
Statistics show that refugees not only benefit from safety in Canada, but they also embrace the opportunity to build a new life. Over time, they make important contributions to the country's economy, and to their communities.
Former refugees are hardworking people and contribute to Canada's economy. They have an unemployment rate of 9%, close to that of Canadian citizens by birth (6%).
I was glad to attend the North American Refugee Highway Partnership 10th Annual Roundtable in Chicago last month. This was a 2.5 day event for specifically Christian organizations and stakeholders working on behalf of , and around the world and in our communities. There were plenery sessions, multiple workshops with opportunity for "roundtable discussions," times of worship ... and former refugees told their stories of displacement, flight, survival and eventual resettlement in the USA.
The news of Asia Bibi's arrival in Canada has once again put the spotlight on the plight of persecuted Pakistanis who have fled for their lives after being falsely accused of blasphemy. This excellent video reveals the broad scope of Pakistan's blasphemy laws and the fervent zeal of those seeking to enforce them.
One of the blessings and the challenges in this work are the conversations with people who have been forcibly displaced. Most of those ‘conversations’ happen by way of email, but having been at this for 3 years now, there are more happening via Skype, Facebook Messenger and phone.
I would like to share 2 of those conversations with you here. English is not their first language. In order to protect their identity I have changed their names, but I have preserved their words, their message to us …