Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society 2016

For: AIRSS Sponsorship Group of 10 from Africa
Athabasca, AB, Canada
Organizer: Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society AIRSS
Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society 2016 (AIRSS Sponsorship Group of 10 from Africa)
of $58,500 goal.
Raised by 126 donors
100% Complete

The Story


Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society (AIRSS) is actively engaged in the process to sponsor a group of 9 refugees from Eastern Congo, one of the most war-torn regions of the world. The group of nine is comprised of 2 families, and includes 6 children and 3 adults.  The young families are currently in a refugee camp and, for security reasons, their location is not being identified. 

These families are resilient, hardworking people who need our help.  Both families are led by young women who are physically disabled, and who have faced incredible challenges in their own lives, but who have worked hard to provide for their families and to try to keep them safe for years.  They have fled their home country multiple times, in search of safety, faced tragic losses along the way (one little girl lost her life), and desperately need a chance to rebuild their lives again.

AIRSS is preparing for the arrival and resettlement of the families in Canada.  The group will be settled in our community and we will be there to support them every step of the way.  The funds we are raising will allow AIRSS to take responsibility for the basic necessities of life for at least the first year in the country.  The amount we are fundraising is based on the Canadian Government's financial formula for sponsorship support.  The formula suggests we need $58, 500 (Canadian dollars or approximately $44, 000 USD) in either pledges, cash, or "donations in kind" for our new families. Being able to show that we have raised this amount is a requirement and essential to our sponsorship application.

All refugees need support when they first arrive in a new country.  They arrive in a new place with virtually no material possessions and must work hard to learn a new language, adjust to a new culture, and gain skills which are transferable to jobs in their new country.  AIRSS makes it possible for this to happen by taking on responsibility for their basic necessities of life for at least the first year.  This includes covering the cost of housing, food, and transportation for the first year or until they are able to cover such costs themselves.  It has been our experience that our refugee families work hard to start providing an income for themselves as quickly as possible, and the support from AIRSS provides a necessary bridge to build that success.

By donating you are helping provide a path to safety and hope for 9 of the most at-risk people in the world.  AIRSS is a non-profit organization and all funds raised will be used for the needs of this group of 9 as they resettle in Canada.  If, by any chance, they do not need all of the funds, or if the application for sponsorship of this particular group is not granted by the Canadian government, remaining funds will be used for the resettlement of another group of refugees. 

There is also the possibility that funds may be needed to provide essential services in Uganda to complete all the components of the application, such as translators and or medicals. 

AIRSS has successfully completed two sponsorships in Canada and we are pleased to report they are all wonderful, hardworking Canadians!  Let's give this amazing group of 10 the same chance at a safe and hopeful future. 

Love one another. As I have loved you.. John 13

If you have any questions or would like to get involved please contact [email protected]

While AIRSS is working toward sponsoring these amazing families, they are currently struggling to survive where conditions are difficult and resources are extremely limited.  You can help them provide food and medicine for their families until they are resettled by buying the beautiful work of their hands at SHONA Congo:

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on October 6, 2017

Posted on October 6, 2017

More News!

I have some very good news to tell you! Our families received official documents this week for their medical examinations. This is the next step in a long process but it is positive progress and it is another big step forward to the goal of resettlement in Canada. We are excited!

Thank you again for all of the kind thoughts and prayers and support.  Official news will hopefully be announced soon and I will let you know.

With great anticipation,

Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

Posted on September 19, 2017

Posted on September 19, 2017

Unofficial News

I wish I had official news for all of you. We are still waiting but I want to share some news that we do have.  We have been told that the interviews with the Canadian Visa officers went very well. We were also told that the Visa officers were kind. They seemed to be surprised about the many things our families had gone through and the officers responded in positive, encouraging ways (unofficially). Our families signed some forms, they had their fingerprints taken, and they were told to go home and wait for a call about medical forms. Waiting can be so hard but we are optimistic and we look forward to good news…soon!

Thank you again for all of the kind thoughts and prayers and support.  When we have official news, I will let you know.

With great anticipation,

Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

Posted on September 4, 2017

Posted on September 4, 2017

1st week of September Interviews!!!

Hello everyone,
This week is an important and exciting time for AIRSS and our refugee families because of the upcoming interviews. Thanks be to God for these interviews with the Canadian Visa officer. We are also very thankful for everyone who advocated for our families. Thank you!!!

The interviews are scheduled to take place at 8:00 am in Uganda on Thurs, Sept 7th, 2017. Because of time zones differences, the time will likely be quite different in your location...unless you are in Uganda!

For Alberta residents, when it is 8 am in Uganda on Thursday, the time will actually be 11 pm on Wednesday, September 6th Alberta time. (9 hour time difference for us)

For other Canadians and for our American supporters, your time may be different depending on your location. That is why I didn't write a date and time in the title. It could be Sept 6th or 7th depending where you live.

Argentine and Mapendo and their families are in our thoughts and prayers as they prepare, travel, and do the interviews. They are amazing people and they have endured so much to get to this point. Thank you again for everything you have done to help them.

If you are able, would you please join us in prayer? We pray for safe travels to the interview location, successful interviews with decisions to approve all of the family members for resettlement in Athabasca, and for everything that needs to happen for our families. Thank you!!!

With deepest appreciation,
Cheryl Balay, President of AIRSS

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