World Refugee Day 2017

World Refugee Day

On this World Refugee Day, Tuesday, June 20th, 2017, we think about the refugee families we have sponsored and we celebrate the new lives and the new opportunities they have in Canada. We are thankful for each one of them.

AIRSS will continue to work towards the protection and resettlement of refugees who do not have another durable solution. At this time, we especially think about our current applications to sponsor Argentine and Mapendo and their families. The application and review processes for resettlement take a long time but each day is a step closer. We hope and pray that their applications will be approved very soon.

We are thankful for the wonderful support that we have received. Together we are making a difference!

We join with people around the world as we think about the immense courage of refugees in so many different parts of the world. We also think about the strength and resilience that is needed to survive.  We encourage you to do what you can do to help those in need.

With a very grateful heart and deepest appreciation

Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

We Celebrate Exciting Financial News with our Supporters!

Over the past months, AIRSS has been blessed with successful fundraising, prayers of many people, many donations from our community, family, friends and amazing support from the Shona Congo community, as well as recent generosity beyond our imagination. Today I have some unbelievable news to share!

 I am thrilled to announce that we have reached our initial fundraising goal of $58,500. Thanks be to God! When we started this journey, this goal seemed so far away and so difficult to achieve but today we celebrate this amazing milestone with all of you! 

How is this possible? A Shona Congo supporter, who wishes to remain anonymous, has miraculously donated over $30,000 to ensure that we would reach our goal. The donor has told us that this is a gift from God. We are deeply grateful for the generosity of this donor.  

 We are overwhelmed and we are deeply grateful to all of our donors, supporters, and fundraisers. On behalf of AIRSS and our families, we thank everyone who made all of this possible. This is truly a day to rejoice! 

 In the beginning of this journey, we set our original goal of $58,500 based on the Government of Canada's recommendations for private sponsorship groups. With this amount raised, we have reached the minimum required to provide for the living expenses of our two families until they are self-supporting.  These funds will provide the necessities for them as they focus on the important tasks of learning English and adjusting to life in Canada!

From here we will continue to fund raise beyond this minimum. We recognize that set-up and living expenses for 3 adults with disabilities and 6 children will exceed the basic amount of $58,500. We will continue our fundraising with the benefit of knowing that, thanks to so much generosity, we are well prepared to welcome our families whenever they arrive.

We wish we could also announce that our families will be arriving soon. However, their applications are still being processed so we are still asking for people to help us advocate for quicker processing of the application by contacting our Canadian government officials.

 If you haven't already done so, could you please send an email message to our government officials and/or share this opportunity with others? Please see information below for more details about this action item. Also, please note that there is different information for our Canadian supporters and our American supporters. Thank you!

Buy a beautiful bag from Shona Congo and support our refugee families.

Buy a beautiful bag from Shona Congo and support our refugee families.

Also, please remember that until the applications are approved, these families must remain as refugees in a neighboring African country where resources are extremely limited and conditions are difficult.  Argentine and Mapendo are paying for rent, health care and food for their families entirely through their sewing with SHONA Congo. You can help them by buying a beautiful, handcrafted, high quality bag that they have made at www.shonacongo.com.  Each bag that you buy provides enough money for one family to eat for 2 days!  Thank you for considering this opportunity to support their work so they can support their families.

 With a very grateful heart and deepest appreciation,

Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

ACTION STEP for U.S.A. Supporters: Please Help AIRSS Advocate for Refugee Families!

Supporters from the United States of America (U.S.A.) (updated on Jan. 13, 2017)

       Would you please support the advocacy efforts of our Canadian refugee sponsorship group, AIRSS?   We are actively advocating for the refugee sponsorship applications of Argentine and Mapendo and families to be processed more quickly.

We need as many people as possible to draw attention to this case and ask the Canadian government to expedite the applications for our two vulnerable Congolese refugee families.

Please consider sending the email message below (or your own message of support) to the email addresses at the bottom of this email.  You may also want to add the email address(es) for your own government official(s) such as Senators. If you write a new message or edit the sample, please make sure you include AIRSS in the subject line and message and please identify the applicants as vulnerable. Additional instructions are provided below.

One quick email from you will take little time and could make a great difference in the lives of these 3 disabled adults and 6 children. 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact AIRSS President Cheryl Balay at <airssociety@gmail.com>. Thank you. 


EMAIL MESSAGE: 

Hello, 


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
http://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2016/12/58539e524/global-refugee-sponsorship-initiative-promotes-canadas-private-refugee.html

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.

Application Reference Information: Application details provided in December 5th, 2016 email or January 10, 2017 email from Cheryl Balay (airssociety@gmail.com). Subject Line: Vulnerable (African) Applicants - AIRSS Private Sponsorship of Refugees

Thank you.

Yours Sincerely,

******

INSTRUCTIONS: 
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. If desired, please add the email address(es) for your own government officials, such as Senators. 
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!!!

 

Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca,

John.Mccallum@parl.gc.ca

Patty.Hajdu@parl.gc.ca

stephane.dion@international.gc.ca

Celina.Caesar-Chavannes@parl.gc.ca

Marilyn.Gladu@parl.gc.ca

Shaun.Chen@parl.gc.ca

Pam.Damoff@parl.gc.ca

Ali.Ehsassi@parl.gc.ca

Sean.Fraser@parl.gc.ca

Rachael.Harder@parl.gc.ca,

Mobina.Jaffer@sen.parl.gc.ca

Jenny.Kwan@parl.gc.ca

Karen.Ludwig@parl.gc.ca

Sheila.Malcolmson@parl.gc.ca

Eva.Nassif@parl.gc.ca,

Michelle.Rempel@parl.gc.ca

Randeep.Sarai@parl.gc.ca

Bob.Saroya@parl.gc.ca

Marwan.Tabbara@parl.gc.ca

David.Tilson@parl.gc.ca,

Anita.Vandenbeld@parl.gc.ca

Karen.Vecchio@parl.gc.ca

Borys.Wrzesnewskyj@parl.gc.ca

Salma.Zahid@parl.gc.ca

Marc.Serre@parl.gc.ca,

Julie.Dzerowicz@parl.gc.ca

jim.munson@sen.parl.gc.ca

salma.ataullahjan@sen.parl.gc.ca,  

Raymonde.Gagne@sen.parl.gc.ca,

raynell.andreychuk@sen.parl.gc.ca

elizabeth.hubley@sen.parl.gc.ca

thanhhai.ngo@sen.parl.gc.ca

shannon.stubbs.c1@parl.gc.ca,

hurleydawn@gmail.com,
airssociety@gmail.com 

You can also add your own US Senator to this email list.

ACTION STEP for Canadian Supporters: Please Help AIRSS Advocate for our Families! (updated on Jan. 13, 2017)

Dear friends,

Our applications have been received by the government, but the wait times for African refugees are dismally long.

We need as many people as possible to draw attention to our case and ask the government to expedite the applications for our two vulnerable Congolese refugee families.

Please consider sending the message below (or your own message of support) to the email addresses at the bottom of this post. 

 Please add the email address for your own Member of Parliament (MP) if  your MP is not listed (if you live in another constituency). Find your MP here:

http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/ParlInfo/compilations/houseofcommons/memberbypostalcode.aspx?Menu=HOC

One quick email from you will take little time and could make a great difference in the lives of these 3 disabled adults and 6 children. 

Thank you for your help!

- Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society

 

***

Hello, 


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

I ask that you assist these vulnerable African families in two important ways:  

1) by advocating for expedited processing of these vulnerable applicants. 

2) by working with your colleagues to address the unreasonable processing times for African refugee applications.

 

Application Reference Information: Application details provided in December 5th, 2016 email or January 10, 2017 email from Cheryl Balay (airssociety@gmail.com).

Subject Line: Vulnerable (African) Applicants - AIRSS Private Sponsorship of Refugees

Thank you.

Your Sincerely,

**************

1. Please copy and paste the message into a new email. 

2. Please sign your name at the bottom of the message. Please include your town/city, province and postal code.

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 and hit SEND. Thank you!!!

Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca,

John.Mccallum@parl.gc.ca

Patty.Hajdu@parl.gc.ca

stephane.dion@international.gc.ca

Celina.Caesar-Chavannes@parl.gc.ca

Marilyn.Gladu@parl.gc.ca

Shaun.Chen@parl.gc.ca

Pam.Damoff@parl.gc.ca,

Ali.Ehsassi@parl.gc.ca

Sean.Fraser@parl.gc.ca

Rachael.Harder@parl.gc.ca

Mobina.Jaffer@sen.parl.gc.ca

Jenny.Kwan@parl.gc.ca

Karen.Ludwig@parl.gc.ca

Sheila.Malcolmson@parl.gc.ca

Eva.Nassif@parl.gc.ca,

Michelle.Rempel@parl.gc.ca

Randeep.Sarai@parl.gc.ca

Bob.Saroya@parl.gc.ca

Marwan.Tabbara@parl.gc.ca

David.Tilson@parl.gc.ca

Anita.Vandenbeld@parl.gc.ca

Karen.Vecchio@parl.gc.ca

Borys.Wrzesnewskyj@parl.gc.ca,

Salma.Zahid@parl.gc.ca

Marc.Serre@parl.gc.ca

Julie.Dzerowicz@parl.gc.ca

jim.munson@sen.parl.gc.ca

salma.ataullahjan@sen.parl.gc.ca

Raymonde.Gagne@sen.parl.gc.ca

raynell.andreychuk@sen.parl.gc.ca

elizabeth.hubley@sen.parl.gc.ca

thanhhai.ngo@sen.parl.gc.ca

shannon.stubbs.c1@parl.gc.ca

airssociety@gmail.com

Make a tax-deductible donation to support our work (for U.S. donors)!

We are pleased to announce that Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society (AIRSS)  has been vetted and approved to receive grants from CAF America.   We are very excited about this approval because U.S. donors will be able to make a tax-deductible contribution to support the work of AIRSS by donating to CAF America and recommending that the grant be made to AIRSS.

Our organization is now listed on CAF America's Charity Database or  you can visit the Give Now page at CAF America’s web site.

 

A CAF Gift Form is also available for donations :

CAF America

1800 Diagonal Road, Suite 150

 Alexandria, VA 22314

 UNITED STATES