Here's how you can help refugees near you

A new initiative is encouraging communities to rally together to provide support to newly-arrived refugees as they settle into Irish life

It’s easy to feel helpless when we see the plight of refugees in the news. But a new initiative empowers Irish communities to help support refugees who are trying to build a new life in Ireland.

The Community Sponsorship Ireland initiative is a community-led resettlement programme. Private citizens and community groups are being encouraged to take leadership in welcoming refugees to their community, town or village.

So in your own community, perhaps organisations such as sports clubs, trade unions, faith-based bodies or neighbours and friends would like to rally together to support refugees. The community sponsorship group will be making a commitment to provide financial, logistical, social and emotional support to newly-arrived refugees in order to help them settle into their new neighbourhood.

The Irish Red Cross, in cooperation with the Irish Refugee Protection Programme at the Department of Justice and Equality, IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada), UNHCR, Nasc, the Irish Refugee Council and Amnesty International Ireland have developed the Irish model of Community Sponsorship over the last 18 months.

The Irish Red Cross will also provide regional support to people who want to get involved, with practical training and guidance.

To find out more about the Community Sponsorship Ireland programme, email communitysponsorship@redcross.ie.

Pictured above: Lorca Fakir with Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton, and her parents Angham Younes and Zouheir Fakir who are the first refugee family under the initiative in Dunshaughlin.

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