Refugee update

November 2017

Argentine and Mapendo and their families have received all their final vaccinations and have been told to be ready to travel within the next month.  We are so thankful for all of you whose love and support have helped make this happen.  Several of you have asked how you can help.  

1.  Shop SHONA.  Argentine and Mapendo and their families are still relying entirely on your support for their work as they await resettlement.  Solange and Riziki remain and Goma and desperately need your support as well! 

2.  Pass the MIC.  This is a crucial project for Argentine and Mapendo in the next step of the journey




Amazing News

As of January 2017 we have reached our Resettlement Fund Goal of $58,500!  This is truly incredible and absolutely crucial in allowing us to advocate for expediting the resettlement process for our families. 

The Resettlement Fund is money that is donated to AIRSS to cover the costs of resettlement after the families arrive in Canada.  The Canadian government estimated that a group this size needs at least $58,500 for their first year of life in Canada and a sponsoring group must prove that they have access to that full amount. 

In our wildest dreams we couldn't quite imagine how this money could be raised.   Yet through the generous support of so many of you in the SHONA Congo and AIRSS communities, and an extra dose of miraculous grace and provision in the form of an anonymous donor family, we reached the goal!  We are thankful to all of you, for the faith and generosity that has moved us forward, and we are thankful to God.



Where we stand right now


Argentine, Mapendo and their families (3 disabled adults and 6 children) have fled Congo and are living as refugees in a neighboring country where resources are extremely limited and life is not easy. They support themselves entirely through their sewing with SHONA Congo. 

AIRSS has submitted applications to sponsor Argentine and Mapendo and their families for resettlement to Canada.  The sponsorship applications have been accepted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada(IRCC) and been assigned official numbers for identification.  Estimated wait times for these applications are approximately 5 years.




What can you do right now?

1.  Buy A Bag. It matters right now. This is how Mapendo and Argentine are supporting their families right now as they remain stuck indefinitely.  We need them to be able to survive while they wait for resettlement and this is how they do it.  (This is also how Riziki and Solange continue to support themselves in Eastern Congo, facing equally challenging situations.)


2.  Send an email advocating for Argentine and Mapendo's applications to be expedited:

We need as many people as possible to draw attention to Argentine and Mapendo's applications and ask the Canadian government to expedite the applications.  It i important to stress that these families are  particularly vulnerable. 
For US citizens please consider sending the email message below (or your own message of support) to the email addresses at the bottom of this email. 

Be sure to include AIRSS and vulnerable applicants in the subject line. 


I support the Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society (AIRSS) in their sponsorship applications for Argentine, Mapendo, and their families.

I am an American citizen who supports the efforts of this private group of Canadian citizens.  

This effort is a good example of a Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees - a program that your government is sharing with the world through the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative
As an American, I am deeply impressed with this program.  I would like to thank the Canadian government for this commitment to refugees and encourage my own government to follow your example.  However, it is hard to be convinced that this model should be an example for the rest of the world when you have estimated processing times of approximately 5 years for two vulnerable African families. 
I urge you to expedite the processing of these applications. The applicants are vulnerable and AIRSS is ready to welcome these families to Athabasca, Alberta, Canada today.  I am excited to be able to tell the world about Canada's leadership in the midst of a refugee crisis.  Thank you.
Application Reference Information: Application details provided in December 5th, 2016 email or January 10, 2017 email to your office from Cheryl Balay ( Subject Line: Vulnerable Applicants - AIRSS Private Sponsorship of Refugees
Thank you.
Yours Sincerely,
1. Please copy and paste the above message into a new email. 
2. Please sign your name at the bottom of the message.  We encourage you to add your  state and country.
3. Please write this in the Subject Line: Vulnerable African Applicants - AIRSS Private Sponsorship of Refugees
4. Please copy and paste the following list of government officials into the "To" field. If desired, please add the email address(es) for your own government officials, such as Senators. 
5. Then hit SEND. Thank you!!!

You can also add your own US Senator to this email list.  Also feel free to include a more personal message. 


3.  Post on Social media. 

Comment on this post on our FB page to help spread the word!


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