The Porchlight Project
The Porchlight Project takes its name from the welcoming light of a lantern hung outside a family home. It was initiated in the summer of 2018, when a group of friends in Hemmingford and St-Bernard-de-Lacolle decided to apply to bring a refugee family to Canada.
Some members of the group had already befriended a Syrian family who had arrived in Canada in 2016 as government-sponsored refugees. They had watched in awe as their friends, who had lost their house, their town, their careers, their friends, their family members and their future in a country that had been their family’s home for generations, gradually built a life for themselves. They learned French, came to terms with the cold weather, found work, started to save for a house and took pride in their children, who gradually blossomed when they realised that they were safe. The only thing that became worse instead of better was their grief and guilt over leaving behind their parents and vulnerable siblings in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.
The Collective Sponsorship program allows small groups of citizens to sponsor refugees recognized by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) who pass the Canadian government’s medical, security and criminality checks. We must provide a settlement plan and demonstrate that we have the means to support the two families for a year. (We estimate $60,000 to $70, 000.)
Our application was accepted in March 2019. Porchlight has since partnered with St Andrew’s United Church in Hemmingford, with which we share a humanitarian vision, to raise the funds and support needed to settle the newcomers in Quebec. It will probably be two to four years before they arrive but while we wait we are reaching out to others who are interested in welcoming them.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED : Learn more about the reality of refugees.
Two trustworthy sources:
- General Info: www.amnesty.org/
- UNHCR info on Za’atari Refugee Camp where the families we are sponsoring are now waiting: reliefweb.int
- Receive occasional updates on the project by sending an email to LanternePorchlight@gmail.com
- Make a donation or pledge. We can accept cash, cheques and Interac e-Transfers. Through our partnership with St Andrew’s United Church we can offer a tax receipt for donations of $20 or more.
Contact us at LanternePorchlight@gmail.com Thank you for helping us shine the light to welcome this family of refugees.