The AURA Bulletin
~ news & updates for refugee supporters ~
June 2019 | AURA's Quarterly Newsletter
Today marks World Refugee Day, and sadly, the numbers released by the UNHCR speak for themselves. In the face of terrible violence and increased displacement worldwide, AURA continues to work with incredible people making an enormous difference. Today, we bring you the story of Paniz, an inspiring young woman who was sponsored through AURA, we remember the extraordinary Rev. Nettie Hoffman, we invite you to join the 2019 Ride for Refuge and more. Thank you for being part of the AURA community!
~ Alex and Marin (your AURA team)
AURA Stories:
Everyone who is involved in refugee sponsorship, whether newcomer and sponsor, has extraordinary stories to share. Future AURA Bulletins will highlight some of these stories. In honour of World Refugee Day, we are sharing Paniz's story with you today.
Paniz and her family arrived in Canada about two years ago. Originally from Iran, they fled to Turkey, where they could only remain temporarily before being matched with a sponsor group in Toronto's east end.

Photo: Mohammadreza, Paniz, Parnia, Parham and Maryam near their home in Toronto. Photo provided by Katelyn Malo Photography.

“The degree of multiculturalism in Toronto was surprising as we had not expected to see people of so many races. We were also surprised by how welcoming everyone in the community was - in Turkey we felt like outliers and unwelcome. Here we felt part of the community.” ~Paniz

Despite arriving to Canada with minimal English knowledge, not only is Paniz now fully fluent, but she is the recipient of the prestigious Loran scholarship (for $100 000.00!!). She continues to impress, leading the charge to sponsor another family that she met in Turkey to Canada.
Join us for the 2019 Ride for Refuge:
Arthur already is practicing for this year's ride!
For the last two years AURA has participated in the Ride for Refuge, a family-friendly fundraising event where p articipants can r ide 5-50 km or walk 5 km to raise funds for AURA. Our Board of Directors and staff look forward to participating again and we hope you will join us!

You can join or support a team, or you can create your own!
Remembering Rev. Nettie Hoffman:
Photo: Rev. Nettie Hoffman with AURA's former Executive Director, Ian McBride in 2013.
All of AURA is saddened by the loss of our longtime supporter and only lifetime member, Rev. Nettie Hoffman. Nettie lived 91 remarkable years devoted to making the world around her a better place to live for everyone. Nettie's tireless support of refugees was acknowledge with The Province of Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 2008. 

We will miss her insights, humor, and dedication to the plight of refugees. 

Ask AURA Anything:
What is the special BVOR Sponsorship Fund?

The Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) program matches sponsor groups with refugees who are in need of resettlement. They are ready to travel to Canada, and the government provides 6 months of financial support.

Until August 2019, there is a fund available through the Refugee Hub to cover the other 6 months of financial support! This means that you can sponsor a refugee now, without needing to raise a lot of money!

In 2019, Canada committed to admitting 1650 refugees through the BVOR Program. Right now there are not enough sponsor groups interested in sponsoring refugees, so Canada is unlikely to hit it's resettlement targets. This fund is an incentive to encourage more sponsors to come forward.

Do you have a question?
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any sponsorship questions. We are here to help. Call the office at (416) 588-1612 or click the link below.
Resources: Summer in Toronto
ROM Pass:
AURA has generously been provided with a transferable pass to the Royal Ontario Museum that allows 4 adults and 4 children entry into ALL exhibitions for free. We are happy to lend it out! If you or the newcomers you’ve sponsored are interested in borrowing it, please contact Marin at the AURA office ( or 416-588-1612).

There is so much to do in Toronto for free! Consider organizing an outing with the newcomers you’ve sponsored! 

Since there is often no school in the summer, encourage using the library as much as possible. They offer so much more than just books...

Do you know of a great resource or event others would benefit from? Please share it with us by clicking below:
Join Us: World Refugee Day Brunch
We look forward to seeing those of you who will join us this Sunday to commemorate the strength and courage of refugees around the world, meet other refugee sponsors, listen to live music, enjoy a delicious brunch, and be inspired. Dr. Brian Goldman (from CBC's "White Coat, Black Art") will share insights about a fundamental pillar of refugee sponsorship: empathy.

Sunday, Jun 23, 12:30 p.m.
Olde Stone Cottage Pub, 
3750 Kingston Rd, Scarborough

There are only a few tickets left and no tickets will be available at the door!