WCI, along with community partners, aims to raise over $30,000 to support a refugee family from Syria for one year. A Refugee Support Committee has been formed to facilitate this initiative.
With Waterloo Region facing so many new residents in need of housing, medical assistance, and other necessities, WCI staff and students are partnering with the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Calvary United Church to sponsor a family with three or more children seeking refuge in Canada. According to WCI’s Refugee Support Committee behind the sponsorship, which is comprised of administration, teachers, and students, MCC will be “providing resources and information” as the Sponsorship Agreement Holder, and Calvary United Church will act as the Constituent Group, “shouldering the financial and legal obligations.”
Since 2011, there has been a mass exodus of people desperately trying to escape conflict in Syria, most of whom have settled in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan. Now in 2015, the number of refugees has surpassed 4 million, as thousands of people try to find safety in Europe and North America.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to bring 25,000 identified Syrian refugees to Canada within the next three months, extending his previous timeline to ensure more accurate screening. The Waterloo Region predicts that up to 1,150 refugees could arrive in the area in the next two months.
There are several ways to get involved with WCI’s sponsorship: students and parents can donate to the morning drive-by coin collection, homeroom money collections, online through Canada Helps, and by providing In-Kind Service or Goods donations at the school. Students can also support a Fast for Freedom participant or participate themselves and volunteer for the Refugee Support Committee.
To provide the student body with more information, the committee will be holding mandatory assemblies about the school-wide sponsorship on Monday, December 14, during Periods C and D. Further details will be provided, but the overall message will be simple: the committee believes that “no one is a refugee by choice” and we must do everything we can to help these people find a better life.
Article: Emily Nighman
Photography: Kaitlyn Hiebert