Sponsoring refugees: What to expect

Learn what it really means to sponsor a refugee and how to prepare for their arrival.

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Sponsoring refugees: What to expect

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Transcript: “Sponsoring refugees: What to expect”

Video length: 5:30 minutes

The scene opens on a blue sky on a sunny day. Birds fly in carrying a banner.

Text displays: “Sponsoring Refugees: What to Expect”

Camera moves down to see people standing in a green setting with homes in the background.

Narrator: It’s a wonderful thing when people come together to welcome and support the integration of refugee newcomers to their community.

A bubble containing a family floats down from above, lands and disappears, leaving the family standing with the other people.

Narrator: This is the universal essence of community-based refugee sponsorship, and it’s exciting that these programs are being launched all over the world.

Close up view of family. The father, the mother, a daughter and a son. We then see the family with the community again, with buildings and birds flying in the background.

Narrator: Sponsoring refugee newcomers is a unique and enriching experience. Being a sponsor won’t only transform the lives of refugees, but your own as well.

The background disappears, leaving the family standing alone. Silhouettes join the family onscreen. A conceptual bubble forms around the family and the silhouettes to imply transformation.

Narrator: And you’ll be doing something that enriches your community as a whole.

Narrator: Sponsoring refugee newcomers is also a significant responsibility.

We see our family in the community view again.

Narrator: So, what are some things you should consider before refugee newcomers arrive?

Text displays: “What it means for sponsors”

A clock appears in view. Time freezes. Birds freeze in place in the sky. Then, the clock indicates that time begins to run in reverse. As we go backwards in time, the bubble appears and carries the family out of view off the top of the screen.

Narrator: There are lots of tools available to help you understand your role as a sponsor. Visit your government’s website to find more details about the program in your country. In some countries, you may also be able to contact a community organization for guidance.

A new scene of a computer with a mouse arrow on the computer screen. The screen begins to populate with a stylized illustration of an official looking government website. The screen then changes to an illustration of a community website.

Text displays: “Refugee sponsorship application”

Narrator: After you’ve learned about the community sponsorship program in your local context, you can form a sponsorship group. There’s no perfect group size, but larger groups can share responsibilities between more people.

Stylized illustration of silhouettes of people forming a group. Other groups appear onscreen around them.

Narrator: Sponsorship will mean working together closely, so make sure that all group members fully understand the collective responsibilities they are taking on by joining the group.

The other groups fade away, leaving the original group. A bubble appears around them to signify cohesion and communication.

Narrator: Once your group is in place, you’ll work together to create a settlement plan.

A new scene of people in a group. A large piece of paper appears behind the people.

Text displays: “Settlement Plan”

Narrator: The refugee newcomers will need your assistance with aspects of daily life that you take for granted – like clothing, housing and household goods, language learning, accessing health services, using local transit and registering kids for school.

A new scene appears with items of clothing, a home with food, a laptop computer with ABC on the screen, a stethoscope and health card, and a municipal transit bus. These objects come together in a circle.

Narrator: Some groups organize themselves into committees to divide these tasks. In other groups, sponsors take on all the duties together.

Stylized illustration of several groups of people in different circles. The circles containing the people come together and overlap to form one circle, joining the people in one group.

Narrator: Don’t forget that your role is also to welcome and offer emotional support to the refugee newcomers, so remember to include social time into your plan.

We see the mother of the family speaking with two women at a backyard table, holding drinks. We pull out to reveal a three-dimensional scene as the father in the family appears, talking with friends, and other friends appear.

Text displays: “Worried about forgetting something or getting it wrong? Don’t worry, you can adapt your plan along the way, and build on it with the newcomers.”

Narrator: You may want to raise funds to cover settlement costs like rent, food and clothes for the sponsorship period. If that’s the case, you may consider creating a dedicated fundraising committee within your group that can set fundraising goals and determine how you’ll collect and monitor funds.

Silhouettes of a group of people appear on a stylized background, as illustrations of a home, food and clothing appear. The objects disappear along with some of the people, leaving a few left to show the fundraising committee.

Narrator: The possibilities are endless, so remember to have fun and get your friends, family, neighbors, local businesses and community involved.

The others appear in the group as silhouettes and then all silhouettes transform into people onscreen, smiling, talking together. Silhouettes appear behind the group to represent family, friends, business and community.

Narrator: Welcoming refugee newcomers when they arrive can be one of the most exciting moments of sponsorship. It will also mark the beginning of an important settlement period: putting your plan into action!

Text displays: “Arrival”

A new scene of a plane landing, viewed through a window. Camera pulls out to reveal an arrival scene at an airport. The family has just arrived, looking somewhat tired but happy, carrying backpacks and pulling suitcases. Sponsors are welcoming them, waving and holding a large sign.

Text displays: “Welcome!”

Text displays: “Tip: Just remember to try your best to be flexible, patient, compassionate and open to learning.”

Narrator: Fairly quickly, you will need to help the refugee newcomers arrange for their basic needs. So, make sure group members are especially available during the first few weeks after the newcomers arrive.

The background airport scene slides away as a home scene slides in behind the family and sponsors.

Narrator: Shortly after arrival, plan to have an orientation meeting with the refugee newcomers. Having open-ended, 2-way conversations is important to build trust, manage mutual expectations, and prepare newcomers for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

A new scene as the family and sponsors remain onscreen but transform to a later time. The family no longer has a suitcase and they look rested. The sponsors are no longer holding the welcome sign. Closeup view of family with sponsors as two animated arrows appear to signify back and forth communication.

Narrator: You may need to identify an interpreter to ensure clear and positive communications, and navigate important appointments, especially early on in the sponsorship. Eventually, you should encourage the refugee newcomers to interact with you without an interpreter. This will build confidence and help them integrate more quickly.

The background changes as the family and sponsors remain onscreen. A woman (the translator) appears in between the family and sponsors, reaching toward the family. Then the translator fades away as the family and sponsors move closer together in implied conversation.

Narrator: As you get to know the newcomers, they may disclose personal information to you such as details relating to their health, or the circumstances that led them to flee their homes. It’s important that all members of your sponsorship group protect this information. It must not be shared in any way that might jeopardize their privacy or place them or their family members abroad at risk.

We see a bubble appear around the family and sponsors that signify union and cohesion.

Text displays: “If you’re worried about the family’s health or safety, consult local settlement, health or legal professionals.”

Narrator: Remember that sponsoring refugees is about empowerment. Although newcomers will arrive with a unique set of needs, the most effective sponsorships offer support and encourage independence.

A new scene at a bus stop as two of the sponsors are waving to the mother and father of the family as they get on the bus.

Narrator: A key aspect of independence is finding employment. You’ll want to help adult newcomers develop basic job search knowledge relevant to their new community, and even recommend employment counselling if it is available.

The mother and father are seen with an employer in a professional setting, smiling together. The mother then shakes hands with the employer.

Narrator: And be sure to help the refugee newcomers have fun by suggesting recreational programs, sharing information about community activities and organizing social events.

A new scene of the family playing together in a park scene. The father is kicking a soccer ball with their daughter, while the mother is in a swimming pool with their son.

Narrator: As refugee newcomers become fully engaged members of their new community and gain independence, the formal sponsor-newcomer relationship will come to a close. In many cases, though, the deep friendships and community ties forged will last a lifetime.

We see a similar scene as the beginning, with the sponsors onscreen on a sunny day. The family floats down in the same bubble, and the bubble disappears, leaving them with the community. The camera pulls out as more people appear around them in an ever-widening community of friends and supporters. The camera moves upward into the sky, the sun shining and birds flying.

Narrator: Find out more about community sponsorship at refugeesponsorship.org.

Text displays: “refugeesponsorship.org

Text displays:
“Video developed in partnership with:

  • Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative
  • Open Society Foundations
  • uOttawa
  • UNHCR
  • the UN Refugee Agency
  • Giustra Foundation”

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada corporate signature is shown, along with the copyright message: “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 2019” is shown.

Canada wordmark appears.

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