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February 18, 2022
Sponsorship of Refugees
“A story of real work that addresses a real need for real people.”
When a staff member at Edmonton Christian High School approached us in early December 2021 to ask if there was any way the Society (and the schools) could help sponsor two nephews who had fled the violence and ethnic genocide taking place in their homeland (Ethiopia), the opportunity for us to put our words in action and to do some real and significant work to meet the real needs of real people was clearly evident.
When we brought this opportunity to the current board it was unanimously supported and we are excited to invite the greater ECS community to get involved.
We received a letter from Gebremedhin Gebrehiwot Abraham and his cousin Gebremedhin Mewael Abraha. They are currently living in Kenya.
“On November 4th, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray. Federal forces and their allies seized control of Tigray’s regional capital, Mekelle, and other towns leading a systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing.
My cousin and I were detained for 2 months in concentration camps, moved from camp to camp, not knowing what the future would hold …”
OUR ROLE IN GOD’S STORY
These are our brothers in Christ. God is working through us. He placed this need in front of us and we saw it as an opportunity we couldn’t say ‘no’ to.
The Vision statement for Edmonton Christian School is: “Accepting Christ’s invitation to live for renewal,” and for the better part of 7 decades, our schools and community have actively worked to be God’s agents in the world in this renewal work, in this “making of all things new.”
Our history is full of examples of where our students have gone forth and been a “healing balm” or “salt and light” in the world. Our teachers share this vision with students by looking for opportunities to do “real work, to meet the real needs of real people.”
We have created a group (Sponsorship Project Team). They are learning about the process, requirements and steps needed to be Community Sponsors. We are also enlisting individuals with expertise in the process to support the completion of our application.
The scope of this sponsorship project is broad. Our group would be responsible for several things pre-arrival and post-arrival (for one year). In total, the process will take approximately 2 years.
- 25-Feb-2022: Completion of project guiding documents
- 31-Mar-2022: Funds secured/in place
- 31-Mar-2022: Application documents completed/submitted
- Jul-Sept 2023: Arrival of Abraham and Mewael in Canada (16-18 months post-application)
- Jul-Sept 2024: Sponsorship period concludes
One way we further Christian education at ECS is by modelling what it means to live for renewal and students will have the chance to learn through this experience. Older students may walk through the process alongside us to more fully understand what is involved in a refugee application as part of their Social Studies classes. Younger students might write letters of encouragement to Abraham and Mewael. We see this as an opportunity for our students to put their faith into action.
Funds needed to submit the application are determined according to the Federal RAP (Resettlement Assistance Program) rates. There are two types of financial support we are obligated to provide: Financial support for initial settlement costs and then ongoing monthly support for one year after settlement in Canada.
REQUIRED FUNDS: The financial support we are required to have is approximately $35,000 before submitting the sponsorship application. The deadline for us to secure these funds is March 31, 2022, but the sooner we raise the money, the sooner we can submit the applications.
This amount is the minimum financial support requirement; additional funds may be determined to be necessary to successfully settle our applicants in Canada. The Sponsorship Project Team will evaluate this as the Settlement Plan is prepared prior to the arrival of the applicants.
Please prayerfully consider donating to support our sponsorship of Abraham and Mewael.
Ways to donate:
- in person with cash, cheque, credit, or debit at the Society Office
- cash or cheques can be dropped at your school or the Society Office
- online using the button below
This is new for us and being that it’s our first time completing a refugee sponsorship we don’t have all the answers or know what the outcomes might be. We are trusting that God will lead us and we ask for your ongoing prayers for Abraham and Mewael; prayers for their safety in Kenya, for a successful application process, and ultimately for a flourishing new life in Edmonton for both men.
After this settlement, we will conduct a project assessment and provide an impact report. This will help us determine if we’ll be able to complete similar projects in the future.
Sid de Haan
Executive Director, ESCE