What is Community Sponsorship?
Kiwis recognise we are all human, no matter where we are from.
Community Sponsorship of Refugees enables those who want to assist a family seeking refuge, the ability to do so.
A New Way to Help Refugees
Community sponsorship involves individual people or organisations funding and helping refugees to settle in their communities.
While government-led resettlement programmes are essential, community sponsorship has been shown to produce better outcomes for refugees.
Community sponsors support refugees over a specific period of time (generally one to two years) to find housing and employment, learn the language, enrol in schools and more. These sponsors provide social and emotional support to refugees. The programme is a great way to build broader awareness of refugee-related issues in communities. In the process, both sponsors and refugees often have a life-changing experience, reshaping their communities to be more accepting and welcoming.
Community sponsorship started in Canada in the 1970's and is a vital way, alongside a stable government resettlement programme, to bring more people to safety. Canada has resettled more than 300,000 refugees since its community sponsorship programme began. Check out some of the success stories here.
A safe place to call home
We are currently facing the worst forced displacement crisis since World War II, with a refugee population of 25.4 million worldwide – most of whom are struggling to survive in developing countries that cannot offer them adequate support. Every day that passes is another day of uncertainty, of limbo. Keep in mind that on average, people who are in refugee camps are stuck there for 18 years.
Government-led resettlement is a method by which the most vulnerable refugees (as identified by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency) can move to a new country to start their lives in safety.
Yet New Zealand is not doing its part, in fact, per capita, we take in fewer families seeking refuge than almost every other developed country in the world.
All of this needs to change, now. And it’s up to each and every one of us.
This is why we are promoting people-powered initiatives to welcome refugees.
Amnesty International is calling on groups across New Zealand to make their communities welcoming – to show that they and their neighbours welcome people seeking asylum.
We want to encourage activists, members and supporters to work together with others in their local communities to create a more welcoming environment for refugees and people seeking asylum.
P.S. Did you know that we also released a full report looking at the successes and potential of New Zealand's pilot programme for Community Sponsorship of Refugees? You can read it here.
Pilot Programme continued for an additional three years!
It wasn't easy. Together, we mobilised over 10,000 people to pledge their support, write hundreds of letters, call Ministerial Offices, collect petition signatures and organise public gatherings. The days and nights spent making our voices heard have paid off.
When we come together to stand with humanity, incredible change happens.