We know times are hard for many people but the critical, life-saving work of refugee resettlement continues! Please help our small group in Halifax bring this family to Canada. Together we will make a difference!
The father, who we will call Jean Paul*, is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide, in which his father was killed and he, his mother, brothers & sisters had to flee for their lives. Many tumultuous years followed.
In 2013 Jean Paul met the love of his life, and they married. Jean Paul’s uncle, a member of an opposition party, gave Jean Paul a wedding gift.
In 2008 Jean Paul met Unitarian Universalists from the US and Burundi. These Unitarians introduced him to the principles of justice for all, freedom, peace, worth, dignity and acceptance. It changed his life! Since that time Jean Paul has worked towards recognition that all Rwandans deserve a country where everyone can live in peace and love — which, following years of war and the genocide of 1994, no longer seemed possible.
Even though Jean Paul had no connection to any political party, he was targeted, kidnapped and tortured because of his uncle and the gift he received from him. He was released two months later. Jean Paul’s wife and their young son suffered much during the time he was arrested.
When Jean Paul was released, he continued his work with the Unitarian Church and established his own NGO. The NGO’s mandate was to promote economic growth, social and environmental objectives in rural areas. While he knew his actions were being monitored, he was so dedicated to the work that he went ahead with it.
In July 2017 Jean Paul was kidnapped a second time, taken to an undisclosed area and tortured for four months. During this time, Jean Paul’s wife gave birth to their second son. This was a terrible time for the family and his wife did not expect Jean Paul to be released alive. After his release, the church was closed and the NGO was under extreme political pressure. Jean Paul knew his life was at risk but continued what work was possible. Finally, in July 2018, after being stopped from leaving the country for a UU conference in Kenya, Jean Paul and his wife realized they would never be safe and must flee. The family left everything they knew behind to seek refuge elsewhere!
They live each day knowing that, even where they are, Rwandans are being kidnapped by the Rwandan intelligence agents and are not safe from being deported. And now COVID-19 has made even their temporary residence more complicated and unsafe. We have a chance to bring Jean Paul, his wife and their two boys to Canada. When travel is possible again, we know they will be with us! However, to make this dream a reality, we need your help to make that happen and support them during their first year here in Canada.
Our goal is to raise $36,000. We need your help to reach this goal!
The entirety of your donation will go to support the costs of relocation, housing and other necessities for Jean-Paul’s family’s first year in Canada. Our volunteer team will welcome this family and work closely with them during their settlement year, helping to locate housing, medical care, education and employment, as well as providing social and emotional support.
*We have withheld the name of the NGO Jean Paul founded, his own name and that of his immediate family members and their photos to protect their identity.
Sponsorship is by “Room for More”, a Constituent Group working with the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH). SAHs are appointed by IRCC (Immigration, Refugee, Citizenship Canada) to sponsor refugees.
All donations will be tax receiptable.