The image of drowned Syrian child Alan Kurdi put a human face on the suffering of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing their war-torn country. The disturbing image also motivated many individuals around the world to help the refugees through a variety of means, including financial aid, personal sponsorship and more.
Here is how people in the GTA can get involved.
Toronto-based group Lifeline Syria seeks to help local organizations sponsor 1,000 Syrian refugees and bring them to the GTA in the next two years.
Most private sponsors are community organizations, churches, or groups that hold a sponsorship agreement with Ottawa. The process is also open to groups of five people or more. To sponsor a refugee family of four, a group needs to raise $27,000, Lifeline Syria estimates, to cover expenses and start-up costs for the family’s first year in Canada.
The Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI) is calling on Canadian companies on the Financial Post 500 to step up to help pay the cost of resettling refugees in Canada.
The Syrian Refugee Relief Fund seeks to raise $1 million; so far, three partners — McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Sodexo Canada, and Air Canada Foundation — have committed over $100,000.
CARE Canada operates a Syria response funded to provide emergency services to Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, and others impacted by the conflict in Syria. The organization says it has provided over one million people with support so far.
Oxfam Canada is also collecting donations. The group has focused on bringing clean water to communities inside Syria, and providing relief supplies to refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
The Canadian Red Cross is raising money to help support Red Cross teams on the ground in the Middle East and along the route many refugees are taking through Europe (in Greece, Serbia, Italy and Macedonia). The agency is providing refugees with food, water, and emergency medical attention.
People can also donate money to UNICEF Canada and World Vision Canada to support Syrian children and their families.
The Archdiocese of Toronto launched a $3 million emergency refugee resettlement campaign on Tuesday, Project Hope. The 100-day plan seeks to settle 100 refugee families in the GTA as soon as possible.
The plan will prioritize refugees fleeing especially difficult areas such as Syria and Iraq, regardless of their religious affiliation. It is looking for 100 volunteer committees to help, along with financial donations.