Practical Care of Refugees

In 2015, Canada welcomed around 25,000 refugees and the number has continued to increase over the years. Although the refugees are now safe in Canada, there are many challenges the families need to overcome in order to settle in and live a regular life. The community can help ease the transition period by volunteering with non-profit organizations and community groups. If you are interested, you can volunteer with organizations such as The Lighthouse, Lifeline Syria, Furniture Bank, Central Neighbourhood House, Mennonite New Life Centre, The Peer Project, Syrian Active Volunteers, The Arab Community Centre of Toronto, and Together Project.

Another way you can help ease the transition for refugees is by creating a safe and welcoming environment especially for children. Creating this safe space can include implementing programs where children can observe activities and hear English, but are not pushed to participate. Creating a clean and uncluttered space will be less overwhelming for families upon arrival to the program. Providing a quite space for the children to go to when they feel overwhelmed and do not wish to participate will also make the refugees feel more at ease. Be sensitive to the possibility that a large amount of open space and too many activities may be overwhelming to the child.

Lastly, donating items such as furniture, winter clothing, kitchen supplies, and cash will greatly help refugees settle in Canada. Purchasing furniture is extremely costly and refugee families may not have the money for it. By donating furniture will eradicate any compromise. All Canadians know how harsh the winter months can be. By providing gently used or new winter clothes will prepare the new residents for the harsh months ahead. When completing the furnishings in the house, kitchen tools and utensil sets are one of the costliest items. Before donating these items, you should contact sponsors to see if a family is in need of kitchen tools. Donating cash items such as grocery or clothing gift cards will be useful for families in need.