Lifeline Syria Challenge

Refugee Camp-1150x400

About Team Health

The Faculty of Health is pleased to join the efforts of our colleagues across York University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto and OCAD, in the Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge (RULSC). The Faculty of Health established ‘Team Health’ to raise funds and support a Syrian refugee. This initiative underscores our important focus on Global Health and commitment to social justice

In December 2016, our team finally welcomed a newcomer to Toronto. Since then, we have had the pleasure of providing not only financial support but also the talents of faculty, students and staff who volunteered to join Team Health to ease the transition to a new and healthy life in Canada.

How can I make a donation?

To learn about how to make a donation, please contact Anda Petro, Team Lead at apetro@yorku.ca.

How can I get involved?

Updates, contact information and links to the York University Lifeline Syria challenge will be posted to the Faculty of Health’s website at http://health.yorku.ca/lifeline-syria/ or contact a Team Health Member.

About the Initiative

One of the most exciting parts of this initiative is its potential to unite faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students to engage in important collaborative work. Further, given the expertise within the Faculty, this initiative provides opportunities for students to learn through experience. For example, reaching out to settlement organizations and health care service providers and professionals on behalf of the initiative is an opportunity for students to learn more about services provided to refugees.

How does the project work?

Each team has a core group of faculty, staff and alumni, which is also supported by student volunteers. These students are mentored by team staff and help perform core duties of the sponsorship such as assisting with a housing search, locating resources, helping with fundraising, etc. The core group responsibilities include primary contact/sponsor lead, treasurer, student involvement coordinator and a settlement lead. As this is a pan-University initiative, each team includes a Ryerson University student volunteer.

Teams attend training workshops, like the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program,  and events to learn how to best support sponsored families.  Teams also receive regular support from the staff at York University Syria Refugee and Response Initiative and Ryerson University Lifeline Syria Challenge.

What is the role of the sponsorship team?

Sponsorship teams are responsible for the following during the first 12 months:

  • Meet the family at the airport and escort them to accommodation
  • Assist the family in finding housing and ensuring the costs for housing are covered;
  • Make sure that the family’s needs are covered for clothing, furnishings, and food;
  • Make the necessary health connections;
  • Make sure the family is given a general orientation to the city and its transportation system;
  • Make sure that, most likely with the assistance of settlement service organizations, children register in school and parents in English as a Second Language classes;
    • Help to fill in the knowledge gaps that everyone experiences when they move to a new city or country.
  • Help members of the family find appropriate training or employment.

What is the financial commitment?

A refugee family of four will require a minimum of about $27,000. Start-up money is used to buy household items, such as beds and pots and pans, and other items that the refugees might not have, such as winter clothing. Start-up costs – housing deposits, furniture, utilities, clothing etc. – are required at the beginning of a sponsorship, while housing, food and transportation will be ongoing expenses. If the family becomes financially self-sufficient during the 12-month sponsorship period, the sponsors are not obligated to provide income support for the remainder of the sponsorship. But they must be prepared to resume assistance if the refugee ceases to be self-sufficient during their first year in Canada. Refugees resettled in Canada are responsible for paying for their overseas medical examination, travel documents and transportation costs to Canada.