Refugee Sponsorship

LJ Roche has spearheaded Stairs Cares, our Refugee Sponsorship Program, below is a timeline of events that led to one refugee coming to Canada and settling in Dartmouth; we are still awaiting another one.

Stairs Cares Team awaiting Amadou at the airport and his citizenship ceremony.

September 2, 2015 Spoke to Khwaka Kukubo about the possibility of Stairs sponsoring a refugee 
September 7, 2015 Received a list of refugees from Bev MacDonald (Maritime Conference) 
September 15, 2015 Attended presbytery meeting to hear Bev MacDonald’s presentation on Syrian refugee crisis 
September 17, 2015 Made a presentation to Stair’s unified board. The proposal was to sponsor one refugee, given the congregation’s limited capacity for fundraising 
October 15, 2015 Made a second presentation to the unified board 
October 18, 2015 Paola Morales spoke to the congregation in the hall after worship. I organized the sponsorship for her and her family in 2005 when I was at Port Wallis 
November 18, 2015 By this time. we received almost enough donations to sponsor one person.  We held our first meeting of Stairs Cares:  L.J. Roche,  Jim Bauld,  Marlene Kemp,  Wendy Sullivan, Sarah Reaburn,  Shirley Godfrey, Bruce Fraser, Christine Eidt,  Lynn Thurber,  Gail Stevens, Susan Kolesar 
December 10, 2015 Stairs Cares planning meeting 
January 14, 2016 Stairs Cares planning meeting – discussed whether to sponsor 1 or 2 people, decided for financial reasons to sponsor just 1 
January 20, 2016 The unified board approved plan to sponsor one person 
February 1, 2016 Wendy Sullivan and Shirley Godfrey participated in training workshop offered by ISANS 
March 2, 2016 Stairs Cares met to discuss refugee profiles. There were four individuals but only one was listed as urgent – that is the one we chose, a Gambian living in Senegal. I immediately notified Bev MacDonald 
March 4, 2016 I received, filled out and submitted the required forms for the sponsorship 
March 12, 2016 Alex Ripley, church organist, hosted a fundraising concert in the sanctuary 
March 21, 2016 I initiated contact with Amadou Jallow while he was still in Senegal 
April 5, 2016 Jahu, a lesbian refugee from the Gambia who was sponsored by Rainbow Refugee Association, came to my home for dinner with Paul Ingram and Sarah Reaburn 
April 6, 2016 2 reps from the Rainbow Refugee Association of NS met with Stairs Cares to discuss some of the issues LGBT refugees face in NS 
April 6, 2016 We found out Port Wallis is also sponsoring a gay man from the Gambia 
April 16, 2016 Received notification that Amadou would arrive on May 4, 2016 
May 4, 2016 Amadou arrived and we began helping him to settle here in Dartmouth 
February 22, 2018 Port Wallis gave us the funding to sponsor another refugee 
March 28, 2018 We reconstituted the Stairs Cares committee  
April 25, 2018 Stairs Cares met with Linda Demings from Port Wallis to confirm the funding 
October 29, 2018 Lenora Timmins (Maritime Conference) sent an email indicating there is an urgent need for sponsors of LGBT refugees in East Africa. Up to this date, there have not been any single people in the refugee profiles. I asked her to forward us profiles so we could select one. 
December 27, 2018 We received 4 refugee profiles.  
January 16, 2019 Stairs Cares met to review the profiles. We had little to base a decision on, so we chose the first one on the list: Mohamud, a 30-year old Somali living in the Dadaab refugee camp 
March 22, 2019 I received and filled out the required paperwork 
March 31, 2019 The board approved our refugee sponsorship project and I submitted the required paperwork 
June 5, 2019 Our application to sponsor Mohamud was approved by the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) 
August 9, 2019 Mohamud indicated to me he was living with a partner 
September 9, 2019 Mohamud was interviewed by the UNHCR as part of the steps of coming to Canada 
October 3, 2019 Amma Youzbashi from the UCC advised me that the UNHCR confirmed Mohamud had a partner, and Mohamud would be able to sponsor his partner after arriving in Canada, once he was in a financial position to do so 
October 7, 2019 Mohamud was issued a permanent residence visa for Canada 
February 3, 2020 I received notice that Mohamud would receive his itinerary within a few weeks  
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