"How wonderful it is that no one has to wait, but can start right now to gradually change the world! How wonderful it is that everyone, great and small, can immediately help bring about justice by giving of themselves." 
Anne Frank
In This Issue
The AURA Newsletter
Winter 2018 

Welcome to AURA's 2018 Winter newsletter.  All of us at AURA thank you for your support as we continue  working together to help support and guide refugees as they make new lives here in Canada.  I t is because of people like you that we are able to run life changing programs that allow for the sponsorship and resettlement of refugees.

Around AURA
Planning for 2019:
AURA is diligently planning for 2019 and working towards finding a balance between "Echo Effect"(Family-Linked) cases and new cases.  If you are interested in submitting a sponsorship case in 2019 and have not already contacted the AURA office, please do so as soon as possible to guarantee submission spots.

Wonderful Success at the Ride for Refuge:
This year's Ride for Refuge was held on Saturday, September 29. AURA would like to thank everyone who walked, rode, or donated! This is the the second year we have participated in the Ride and we did even better than last year!  If you would like to see the full results please visit this link.
Pictures from the Toronto Ride for Refuge:

Pictures from the London Ride for Refuge:

Arthur continues to lead by example.

It was such a fantastic day for everyone involved that we are already planning for next year's ride on October 5, 2019. Please visit our 2019 Ride page to sign up to take part in what is sure to be another great ride! 
Outreach & Advocacy Conference:

Every year the Anglican Diocese of Toronto holds an Outreach & Advocacy Conference designed to help parishes connect to their communities through love and social justice. This year's conference was held on  Oct. 27 with the theme "Transformed Hearts, Transforming Structures".  

Every two seconds a person is displaced because of persecution or conflict around the world.  AURA decided to create a experiential structure that gave participants an opportunity to "Stand in a  Refugee's Shoes" for a few moments. 

Participants taking a moment to reflect.
AURA Staff.  Photo by Michael Hudson

Elin Goulden.  Social Justice & Advocacy Consultant for Diocese, stopped in while making sure the day was a success. 

Of course standing in the relative safety of our tent does not and should not recreate the horrors refugees face. But we hoped standing in such a small structure, imagining what it would feel like being forced from your home, and learning that someone in another country was willing to help you rebuild your life would encourage even more people in the Diocese  to participate in refugee sponsorship.

To learn more about the Conference and the call for us all to be "Agents of Change"  please visit the Diocese's website

Photo by Michael Hudson.
AURA was pleased to once again be at the Diocesan Synod, held Nov. 9-10, 2018 in Richmond Hill. Thank you to everyone who was able to stop by to ask questions or update us on your work! 
Constituent Group Corner
Kids Up Front:
AURA recently became a Partner Agency with Kids Up Front (KUF) a Foundation that offers free tickets to children under 18 (and their chaperones/parents) who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to attend sporting events, shows, plays, museums etc... in Toronto and Mississauga.  Check out their website for more information or to watch their video: http://www.kidsupfronttoronto.com/
Planned Museum Visits: Through KUF, AURA is able to facilitate free group visits to the ROM, the AGO and the Science Centre. We encourage you to take advantage of this by organizing a trip with/for the families you have sponsored, they can take other friends/family members/neighbours with them, as long as the majority are under 18.
Last Minute Tickets: KUF regularly offers last minute tickets (1 or 2 days before) to extraordinary events. If you're interested you must be able to respond quickly and ensure tickets are used.
For more information or to request a visit, contact Marin at the AURA office: marin@auraforrefugees.org, or 416-588-1612. 

Global Medic:

One of our CGs recently told us about a volunteer opportunity a Syrian Family they are sponsoring has been involved with: Packing Emergency Food Kits with Global Medic.

"On Saturday, December 15, GlobalMedic is looking for volunteers to help pack over 15,000 emergency meals for Syrian families. Volunteers will help measure ingredients, pack Emergency Food Kits and box the finished product."

If you or the families you've sponsored are interested, you can get more information and sign up here 

TED Talk: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - The danger of a single story

AURA would like to recommend this excellent talk:

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories.  Novelist  Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story:  http://go.ted.com/uBlmlA

Refugee News
A Dutch Church Has Held Services Continuously Since October to Prevent a Family's Deportation: 

A Netherlands church has resorted to unorthodox measures to  prevent the deportation of an Armenian family: a marathon church service.

An Armenian family of five living in the Bethel Church in The Hague is slated to be expelled from the country immediately - but  under Dutch law,  police are prohibited from entering a place of worship while religious services are underway. 

The "continuous celebration" that has included more than 400 pastors from other churches from all over the country was started in secret  Bethel pastor Derk Stegeman.
Program pairs refugee children with culturally similar dolls and stuffed bears:

Welcome packages for new refugees in Winnipeg will now pair young kids with a doll or stuffed bear dressed in clothing representing their homeland to help comfort them during the resettlement process.

"It's a huge impact, [the journey] affects them emotionally, by receiving those dolls it's kind of a relief, a comfort," said Flora Aruna at the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC), also known as Welcome Place, will d istribute 40 care packages to newcomer children.

The program, called Touch of Kindness, gives welcome packages containing either a doll or a teddy bear for children under 11 years old, while older kids get a tote filled with age-appropriate gifts like journals, music players, and books.

Annual Appeal

If you have not already donated, please consider once again supporting us so refugees take the steps to begin new lives here in Canada.