The First Group of 5
In March 2012, Winnipeg’s first Group of 5 welcomed the first Iranian gay refugee for settlement in Winnipeg. This Group of 5 supported the new Canadian Permanent Resident. He has finished two years of English Language studies, is completely settled with full time work and has a network of friends. He received his Canadian Citizenship early in 2016.
The Second Group
A second Group of Five submitted an application in January 2014 to sponsor a gay refugee for resettlement to Winnipeg. The gay man, originally from Pakistan, was recognized as a refugee by the UNHCR in 2013. The group supported the refugee while he was in the transit country. A group of 5 application for private sponsorship was declined due to technicalities, however the gay refugee was accepted as government sponsored and arrived in Winnipeg on November 2015. He has been receiving support by many people. He attended a year of English language studies and is now gainfully employed.
The Third Group
A third group formed over the summer of 2012 to sponsor another persecuted gay person to resettle in Winnipeg. The group supported the Iranian male refugee couple while in in Turkey. Turkey does not recognize refugees from countries other than Europe, although it works closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and does provide asylum to people recognized as refugees by the UNHCR. The couple came to Winnipeg in November 2014 as government sponsored refugees and each of them is now fully integrated and working after completing a year of full time English studies.
The Fourth Group
A group was formed in July 2014 to support the resettlement of an Iranian female couple in Turkey. The group worked with the United Church to take advantage of the Blended Visa Office Referred program. The United Church is the sponsorship agreement holder. The group received the support of Rainbow Refugee in Vancouver to fund the initial three months of living expenses and start up costs and the second three months of living expenses paid for by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The group raised funds for the final six months of the couple’s living expenses. The group has provided emotional and practical support to this couple. The female couple arrived in November 2014 and has completed a year of full time English studies. By February of 2016 the couple were both working in their professional fields in Winnipeg.
The Fifth Group
A fifth group primarily comprised of rural Manitobans was formed in September 2015. They financially supported a Gambian gay man during his wait as a refugee. He is now resettled as a government sponsored refugee and the group is providing ongoing practical support.
Contact us if you are want to start a new group, become a member of a forming group, or want to support these efforts.