BVOR Sponsorship Stories: An 2SLGTBQI+ group’s first sponsorship experience

Darryl Hol is a member of a 2SLGTBQI+ sponsorship group that sponsored a transgender refugee through the 2018 BVOR Fund. He shares with us their experience. Find out more about how you can be part of the 2019 BVOR Fund.

We sponsored a trans woman who had faced violence and persecution in her home country. In spite of that, she arrived with an optimistic outlook and a fierce determination to succeed in Canada. You can really never forget welcoming a newcomer at the Ottawa airport. We were dressed in our best Canadian gear and each gave her a huge hug. When other people realized what was happening, they came up to her to say, “Welcome to Canada”. We even unfurled a pride flag and she burst into tears of joy knowing she was somewhere safe where she was free to be herself.

Our newcomer has been in Canada for just six months and has gone from speaking only a few words of English and knowing absolutely nothing about Canada, to being able to do errands and make friends of her own. We are so proud of her! She attends language school every day and does further homework in her spare time, and she would like to begin working as soon as her English is good enough.

We’re a group of queer people who have NEVER done anything like this before! We heard there was a need for sponsor groups and thought that we could help to provide someone with an opportunity to find safety and acceptance in Canada. We had no idea what to do or what to expect. Luckily there are so many resources in our city and generous individuals who are willing to offer support and guidance. We have felt so supported. As a sponsor, you learn so much. You learn about the resilience of the human spirit, you learn to navigate challenging situations with your group members, and you can’t help but gain a newfound appreciation for this country we are all so lucky to call home.