The Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project (RFAP) is a charity that was started in Vancouver, Canada in 2000. This project is a joint plan by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and private sponsorships, created to help those who had been persecuted in their own countries for their:
- Sexual orientation;
- Gender expression;
- Gender Identity; and/or
- HIV status
So far, the project is open to 14 different municipalities, and is looking to support those who want to claim refugee status in Canada.
About the Sponsorship Pilot Project
Canada has given $100,000 to help those who are lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender or queer (LGBTA+), have been persecuted in their own countries, and are seeking asylum in Canada. The Sponsorship Pilot Program is a mixture of community organization, and government financial support. Through this project, the community offers both emotional, and practical support to refugees.
How the Program Help Refugees Financially
The program is made to help those who qualify for refugee status to get both financial, and emotional support from the government and local communities. The Canadian government intends to sponsor the refugees for three months after they arrive in Canada. Note that this financial support is based on social assistance rates.
The other 9 months will be the responsibility of the community, who have a Sponsorship Agreement (SA) with the sponsored refugee.
The Rainbow Refugee Assistance Project (RFAP) “Circles of Friends”
If people wish to help sponsor a refugee, they normally join with a group of people who share this idea, called a “Circle of Friends” (so named in British Columbia). There are many other organizations and groups with different names that aim to help persecuted LGBTQ+ by mentoring, teaching and helping refugees resettle in Canada. Currently Canada has 14 cities with “circles of friends”, and another 20 cities have these support teams.
How a Circle of Friends Can Help a Sponsored LGBTQ+ Refugee Before They Arrive
Are circle of friends can help a sponsored refugee in a number of ways, by:
- Raising funds to sponsor a refugee;
- Helping with application forms;
- Providing emotional support; and
- Helping create a settlement plan for the refugee
How a Circle of Friends Can Help a Sponsored LGBTQ+ Refugee When They Arrive
When a sponsored LGBTQ+ refugee arrives, the circle helps the refugee with finding:
- Accommodation; and
- Basic household goods
The circles also teach them about:
- Transport systems (trains, trams, buses etc);
- Community resources;
- Emotional support systems currently in place;
- Responsibilities as a permanent resident in Canada; and
- Official languages like English and French
If you are interested in finding out whether you count as a LGBTQ+ refugee, and would like to know the process, please check out their website at Rainbowrefugee.com.