The Syrian refugees need your help
By February 29 of this year, Canada had welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees—and more than 5,000 of them chose to settle in Quebec. Among those coming to the province, around 4,000 have already chosen to live in Greater Montréal. This is not surprising, because Greater Montréal has the largest Syrian community in Canada. A particular difference, however, is that 90% of the refugees in Quebec are welcomed through private sponsorship—unlike the rest of Canada, where refugees are mainly supported by the State.
In Greater Montréal, the overall reception has been positive in the humanitarian context as we know it. There has been a large mobilization by the communities that are directly affected, but the responsibility of sponsors for these numerous arrivals is even more significant—hence the need to deliver support to this solidarity movement.
While the first step has been taken, many others remain. Such aspects as housing, financial subsistence, social integration, French-language training, job search, schooling and lifestyle adjustments now pose enormous challenges for these refugees.
In a context of private sponsorship, the responsibilities are enormous and require continuous solidarity. The Foundation of Greater Montréal (FGM) has already provided funding to support the actions of community organizations, and some donors have chosen to award scholarships to Syrian students to enable them to enter university. But in the coming days, we will announce major aid to several organizations that has been made possible thanks to corporate donations to a fund which was set up by the Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) network.
Such active solidarity is possible thanks to this national network of community foundations. The FGM is a proactive member of the CFC, which is formed by 191 Canadian community foundations. Within this grouping, the foundations pool their resources, knowledge and expertise, and they work together to increase their influence in their different communities. Highly respected both by governments and by the business community, the network covers over 84% of Canada. It also manages $4.6 billion of assets originating in donations from organizations and from people who live in the different communities. This network also establishes major partnerships that unite the energies of communities and produce the maximum results.