Shannon Sterling is happy that the application to sponsor a group of refugees from Sudan has moved forward. (Contributed)

Sooke refugee group edges closer to sponsorship

Family of five has sheltered in Cairo since 2014

Team Juan de Fuca Refugee Sponsorship Group’s hope to sponsor a family fleeing the genocide in Sudan has moved closer to reality

The group was notified recently their application to sponsor a Sudanese family of five has gone from Ottawa to the Canadian visa office in Cairo, where the family has been living as refugees since 2014.

And while that may not seem to be a substantial milestone, it marks an important step forward and has happened sooner than the group expected, said Shannon Sterling, one of the sponsorship group’s organizers.

“I’m personally very relieved. I’ve been sitting here hoping that we didn’t miss anything in our application,” she said.

“If we’d missed anything or if there was a problem with our application it could have set the whole process back by many months.”

Sterling said when the refugee sponsorship group first embarked on its latest project it was told to expect the approval process to take 31 months for the family to get an interview. That estimate kept getting revised downward until it finally got to an 18-month estimate.

RELATED: Sooke group applies to sponsor a second refugee family

“These things are very unpredictable, though, and the news can arrive within as little as 10 days. The important thing is that we have been approved as sponsors at this point so the process can move forward.”

The next step is for the visa office in Cairo to review the application. That office will work to verify the dates and events listed in the application and gather information on Sudan’s human rights record from other sources such as UNHCR, MSF, and Human Rights Watch to determine if the family’s story is similar to others coming out of Sudan.

The Sponsorship group will participate in the SEAPARC Garage Sale on May 11 with proceeds going toward the refugee sponsorship.

The group is also inviting Sooke residents to help out by donating home and garden items, gently used sports equipment, and small appliances in good working order.

Further information is available at teamsookejuandefuca@gmail.com or by phone at 250-642-0908.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

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