A new initiative by Windsor Law and the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub will be offering support and information to members of the Windsor community wishing to privately sponsor Syrian refugees.
The Windsor chapter of the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program (SSP), will bring together pro bono lawyers, law students, and sponsorship experts for a public information session on Thursday, January 21, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in room 2100, Faculty of Law building.
Training will be provided by the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program, a national organization specializing in the education and support of individuals and groups engaged in private sponsorship. Experts will answer questions on the sponsorship process, while representatives from the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County will discuss settlement supports available in the community to assist privately sponsored refugees.
“This session is of timely importance as it addresses the increased interest of citizens and community groups asking ‘what else can I do?’” says the council’s executive director, Kathleen Thomas.
“This session aims to increase the numbers of privately sponsored refugees in our area, as well as increase private sponsors’ awareness of the settlement and community services available to assist refugees and their sponsoring families once their arrive in our community.”
As well, on Friday, January 22, from 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Faculty of Law building, Windsor SSP will hold a training session for lawyers and law students on delivering pro-bono services to members of the public wishing to sponsor refugees. Training by the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program is free.
“People in Windsor and Essex County want to assist but the sponsorship process can be difficult to navigate,” says Chris Waters, Acting dean of law. “We are thrilled to be able to help bring together lawyers, law students and sponsors for this important program.”
Windsor is the sixth Canadian city to launch a regional chapter of the SSP, a national initiative supported by government, business; academia; legal organizations; donors and others. Approximately 1,000 lawyers and 150 law students have registered to donate their time. Windsor lawyers interested in becoming involved in the local initiative can contact law professor Anneke Smit at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-563-7401.
More information is available on the SSP website, http://refugeessp.ca/about/windsor/. Those interested in attending the January 21 public information session are asked to register through the Eventbrite link on the website.