Sixty –two Unifor activists met for a day-long training with Lifeline Syria representatives to launch Unifor’s Syrian refugee sponsorship program.
On the ground, Unifor members will assist by offer everything from an initial welcome at the airport, to orientation to life in Canada, to assistance with accessing health, education and social services in the community.
“Unifor is backing with financial aid, but for the next 12 months, members will open up their own homes, their hearts and their lives to offer guidance, social interaction and friendship,” said Mohamad Alsadi, Unifor’s Director Human Rights and International Department.
“It is this kind of generosity from Unifor members that can make a significant difference to Syrian refugees.”
Members representing a diversity of sectors in the Greater Toronto Area responded to the union’s call-out for volunteers to host five Syrian refugee families. The families are expected to arrive early in the New Year after further training occurs.
This first training was offered by Lifeline Syria representatives at the Local 112 office in Toronto; training continues in January on settlement planning. Along with providing an overview of procedures and roles of sponsors, Lifeline Syria Reps stressed the need for volunteers to provide emotional & moral support.
“The first year is critically important to resettlement; social interaction will make or break it. But, we need to understand we do it with them, not for them.”
Financial sponsorship was made possible through Unifor’s Social Justice Fund. The union will continue to work with Locals across the country to raise further funds to assist more Syrian refugees and Unifor National President Jerry Dias is encouraging members and staff to consider donating to the UNHCR or Lifeline Syria.
If you are interested in learning more about the Unifor’s Syrian refugee sponsorship, or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Mohamad Alsadi, Director, Human Rights and International Department, @email, to get involved.