BVOR Sponsorship Stories: Ottawa’s ‘Team Sponsor Wow’

Amy Bartlett is part of ‘Team Sponsor Wow’, a mixed group of 15 friends, friends of friends and strangers in Ottawa who all sponsored for the first time. Find out more about how you can be part of the 2019 BVOR Fund.

Our sponsored refugees arrived in November 2018: a resilient, patient, wonderfully fun-loving widowed mother and her three incredible children (aged 10, 14 and 15). Like many other refugee families, they have gone through huge trauma while also facing the deep uncertainty, worry and stress of leaving their home, language, culture and people to come half way around the world. And yet I also watch them embracing their new situation with so much patience, curiosity and grit.

We have already hit some big milestones in 2019, including getting the kids in school and the mother starting English lessons – getting into the daily rhythms of their new life in Canada. Not to mention their first sledding and skating expeditions and celebrating the youngest’s birthday.

Since their arrival, life for all of us has been a whirlwind: happiness and anxiety and stress and gratitude and inspiration and worry…and so many things lost in translation (literally). There was an initial and intense flurry of activity in the autumn as we learned about our roles and responsibilities as a sponsor group, collecting donations, finding them a place to live, filling out forms and generally trying to figure out how we were going to do this! But in spite of this – or perhaps because of this – the resettlement journey so far feels like one of the most piercingly human experiences I have ever had.

I had been considering sponsorship for some time, and so once the BVOR fund was announced, I immediately reached out to friends in Ottawa to see who would like to join up. The passion was there in everyone, but like most people nowadays, the time commitment was a worry. By eliminating the need to do extensive fundraising, the BVOR Fund really helped many people jump over that final hurdle and take the plunge.