#UNHCROnMission

Join UNHCR Canada on various virtual missions throughout the year as we learn about our operations in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela and more.

On March 25 2021, we hosted #UNHCROnMission: Syria

Syria remains the largest refugee crisis in the world. With over 6.6 million refugees having fled the country and an estimated six million remaining displaced in Syria, the last 10 years have devastated the lives of far too many children, women and men. But there has been hope. UNHCR and our partners have worked tirelessly to provide shelter, safety, and nourishment for those who have been impacted. More than half a million Syrian refugees have settled in Jordan alone. 

Frequently Asked Questions from #UNHCROnMission: Syria

There were so many great questions during our webinar on March 25, 2021. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. 

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Does UNHCR have a program to empower the Syrian refugees?

UNHCR promotes economic inclusion and livelihoods for refugees. We advocate for their right to work and support them in becoming more resilient and achieve self-reliance. Learn more on our website.

How can you send money to help?

To donate to help Syrian refugees, please visit our website.

Does UNHCR have any capacity for assisting refugees with their psychological problems?

UNHCR does offer psycho-social support. UNHCR’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support programs builds the capacity of local health staff and communities and supports the management of mental, neurological and substance use conditions in health facilities. 

How underfunded is UNHCR in comparison to what needs to be done?

UNHCR has warned that millions of displaced people in need of protection and assistance, and their host communities, are feeling the pinch of massive underfunding, as the COVID-19 crisis continues to increase humanitarian needs globally.

The agency has so far received just 49 per cent (US$4.5 billion) of the $9.1 billion required for its global operations this year (as of September 2020).

To Aya: Do you imagine ever returning home (to Syria) some day?

Aya’s answer: There is no doubt that I still miss Syria and it will be a hard decision to make to return home some day because as I said during the crisis “home is not the same home anymore”. Life basics have changed from water, food and healthcare to being safe! I will never forget my home Syria, the place that I came from, but starting everything from scratch again by going back to Syria will not be fair. I really miss watching the sunset in our summer house, walking in our fields of pistachio trees, enjoying cooking and family gathering during occasions and all the other family members resettled in Egypt, Turkey and Sudan. Briefly, the nice picture is broken. Finally, I will say that I and my family are fortunate to live in a welcoming country that we call home now, a place that you do not feel yourself strange in. and I reached the conviction that “the home is not just a place we live in. Rather, it is more about the people we are surrounded by.

Any idea when the process for bringing refugee families over will start again in Canada, now that the vaccinations are increased?

UNHCR doesn’t receive updates from IRCC on privately sponsored cases, but departures of resettled refugees (both privately sponsored and government assisted) continue to be impacted by the on-going international border restrictions introduced in March 2020 by the Government of Canada. In addition to those resettled refugees who had been issued visas before March 2020, and who are exempt from the border restrictions, IRCC has been able to enable departure of some very high protection risk refugee cases and secure exemptions for them as well for which we have been very grateful. However, we suspect that any larger movements most likely happen only after the Canadian border restrictions are lifted or amended, and at that point we are hoping to see departures quickly ramp up.

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As Ramadan is approaching, how will refugees get help?

As Muslims gather in their homes around the world, many refugee families are observing the holy month of Ramadan away from their homes. Your support this Ramadan will be a symbol of solidarity and hope to the most vulnerable refugees.

This Ramadan, whether through Sadaqah or Zakat, we ask for your help to share the blessings of the Holy month. It takes a second to share the blessings of Ramadan today. Learn more on our website.

How can I help and be a volunteer?

To learn more about volunteering with UNHCR, please visit our website. Donations are also appreciated. Thank you.

Does UNHCR have a charitable number for donations from organizations that require this number?

According to Canadian tax law and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), UNHCR Canada is a Qualified Donee. This means UNHCR Canada can issue tax receipts for donations received, despite not being a registered charity with a charitable registration number. 

How many families are in Azraq refugee camp?

Azraq refugee camp is home to approximately 37,000 Syrian refugees, and 20% are under five years old.

Explain how the refugees in these UNHCR camps can be linked to sponsors in Canada to come to Canada under private sponsorship. Do the refugees apply first, or do you approach each refugee family to give them that option?

Traditionally, UNHCR has been referring refugee resettlement cases only to resettlement states. Some of these states have programs that allow for matching of some of these refugee families with community groups and volunteers. In Canada, this type of matching is done through the Blended Visa-Office Referred program (BVOR). At this time, the BVOR program remains suspended due to the pandemic, but stay tuned for updates on our website (unhcr.ca) or Refugee Sponsorship Training Program.

Man from Yemen carries a child

What’s next? #UNHCROnMission: Yemen

During our second live event in April 2021, you will learn more about the internal displacement crisis in Yemen with special guest Jean-Nicolas Beuze. Jean-Nicolas is the former UNHCR Representative in Canada – he is now the representative for UNHCR Yemen. Stay tuned to this webpage to learn more about the event as details become available. Thank you!

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