Last week Ireland received an international award for promoting community sponsorship as means of providing housing to refugee individuals and families.
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Just over a year ago when the Community Sponsorship scheme was about to begin in Ireland, ICC Programme Officer, Dr Damian Jackson wrote this blog giving more information about what community sponsorship is and how Christians could contribute.
This alternative, community–led, way to resettle offers refugees a chance to travel knowing they will arrive in a safer place where they can start to rebuild their lives. Families are given the emotional and financial support they need to positively integrate into the community.
Rev Brian Anderson, ICC President, has commended “the scheme which has been and continues to be an invaluable way for communities and churches on the ground to give hope through offering practical and emotional support. Rather than risking their lives in dangerous travel, people that have been displaced from or had to flee their home countries have a real chance to become part of a new community where they can prosper.”
As Christians, this is an opportunity to show God’s love for the stranger in a practical way. Churches and faith based organisations can use their resources and be part of a group that welcomes and cares for refugee individuals and families, responding to what they may need upon arrival and in the initial 18 month period of the sponsorship.
People of faith can come together as Community Sponsor Groups. These groups consist of ordinary people in local communities who see the benefit in working together to play an active role in supporting the rebuilding of others lives. Relationships are built through outreach and the community benefits in this practical way of exhibiting compassion.
For up to date information, guide to sponsorship and application forms for sponsorship please visit the Irish Refugee Council website here: https://www.irishrefugeecouncil.ie/integration-work-programmes/community-sponsorship-programme