Responding to the Refugee Crisis

VMS was happy to support the Refugee information meeting put on by the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria on 21 July 2018 at Cadboro Bay United Church, to encourage sponsorship of BVOR refugees. Aviva Basman of the UN Refugee Agency gave an excellent overview, followed by former refugee and TED-x speaker Mohammed Alsaleh, as well as two members of local sponsorship groups.

The meeting attracted almost 90 people, with several people immediately offering to form a sponsorship group for a family of five with only days left on the BVOR list. It’s hoped that further groups will also form as a result of the meeting.

If you weren’t able to attend or didn’t fill out the survey when there, please contact Sabine Lehr of ICA at for more information or to join a sponsorship group. If you attended and filled out the survey, Sabine will be in contact with you.

All BVOR refugees are at least partially funded and travel ready, i.e. they should arrive 6 to 12 weeks after the arrangements are completed. To meet Canada’s goals and take advantage of the funding offered by the federal government, many more sponsorship groups are needed. These groups welcome refugees, find accommodations and oversee various aspects of integration into the community during their first year of residence in Victoria.

A big round of thanks to all the volunteers who helped make the meeting happen! You’ll find links here to a short video of the talk given by Mohammed Alsaleh on 21 July, and to the CHEK news report of the event.