Now that the sponsorship is moving forward in an official capacity, this is a good time to send an introductory email or message if you have not already been in contact with the refugee. If you have already connected with them, consider a weekly skype or WhatsApp call. One of the challenges for refugees is losing hope. By making a point to stay connected, you have the opportunity to keep that hope alive, to begin the friendship while you're still on different continents, to be a voice of encouragement as your team keeps abreast of the difficulties they continue to face as they wait for the application to be processed.
- Introduce the core team
- Tell them a little bit about your community and what they can expect when they arrive
- Give them a brief orientation about local climate, weather, the economy, schools and perhaps any particular attractions the area is known for.
Ask them about:
- what life is like for them in their country of asylum. Do they feel safe? Can their children go to school? Are they using on-line resources to educate their children or to learn English?
- what their hopes are regarding a new life in Canada. What do they want for their children? What kind of work might they be interested in?
- what some of their favorite foods or activities are from their home country.
We are fortunate to live in a day of simple communication with people around the world. Email, Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp are all viable ways to keep in touch. Be aware that some of these require data which may mean extra costs for the refugee. Ask them the best way to keep in touch, and they will let you know.