The level of impact that we’re having is something that we’ve debated as a Community Sponsorship Group. We’re all very conscious that we’ve put a huge amount of effort into helping one family. That’s four people.
In the lower moments, I think this can feel like a very small impact in the context of the global refugee crisis. In this blog, I’ll explain how I understand the impact of Community Sponsorship and why I believe that Sponsorship is the right way for my particular community to support refugees.
A scheme with a long-term perspective
Our group didn’t start out as a Community Sponsorship Group. We began supporting refugees by sending shipping containers loaded with products that were needed in refugee camps. Lots of people in our community donated and it felt really worthwhile at the time.
Our perspective has changed since then. We sent food and clothing in the belief that the crisis would soon be sorted and that people would be able to leave the camps and return home. The type of support that we were offering was based on our understanding of the refugee crisis as a temporary crisis.
But then the camps started being demolished while the people in the camps were still unable return home. That really emphasised to me that this displacement isn’t going to be solved quickly. We can send food to the camps but this doesn’t change the fact that people are stuck in those camps and unable to move on.
That was when we heard about Community Sponsorship: the chance for our community to resettle a refugee family here, in our neighbourhood. We felt like this was something that our community would be really good at, and it offered that long-term perspective that we were looking for.
Yes, we’d only help a small number of people, but resettlement offers long-term safety and security to the people that it does help.
Using your particular set of skills & circumstances
In situations of huge humanitarian need like the refugee crisis, you’re always going to need both types of support — you need that short-term, emergency relief, and you need those opportunities for long-term relief. It’s always going to be difficult to strike the right balance between the two, and people will always have different views about where the balance should be struck.
I think it comes down to what you, personally, can give — whether you have time to give, or money to spare. What skills you have and where they can be most useful. What resources you can mobilise and where they can be most effective.