Our mission is to welcome and support refugee claimants in our community by:
- Providing assistance with the refugee claim process
- Accessing a network of settlement support
- Building communities of mutual support
- Advocating for a fair and just environment for refugees in Canada
Receiving Welcome; Crossing Borders
Waterloo Region is a community with a history of supporting human rights, and of welcoming refugees. Yet as people without legal status, refugee claimants have traditionally not experienced the same level of support, protection and respect as other newcomers to Canada. MCRS is the first stop for most of these families and individuals. Often, they are fleeing for their lives, seeking refuge and safety in Canada. They are not able to carefully plan for their arrival.
When they arrive, they are screened for eligibility and then they can make a claim for refugee status. This begins a long, complex process in a new country and language that they hope will finish in being granted refuge and opportunity to build a new life in Canada, safe at last. Adding to the difficulty, their lack of any status means they are excluded from many of the locally run programs for newcomers. Their precarious status has led them to be recognized as a particularly vulnerable and marginalized population. We provide valuable, life-changing support for this population. We become their trusted friend.
It is particularly challenging for youth as they try to find their place in the high schools and community programs. Having crossed borders to come to Canada, they face new borders in their schools that are also extremely challenging to cross. The Crossing Borders program is designed to motivate, "welcome" and provide bridge building so that young people can truly get on with building a meaningful life in Canada with their peers.
Volunteering to translate makes documentation easier to understand, complete and submit.
As a charitable organization, we are totally funded by the generosity of donors. We cannot provide qualified and compassionate caseworkers, administrators, and community liaison personnel without our funding partners.
MCRS is a small non-profit organization that receives no government funding for the claim and settlement support that we offer. With an office of only two full-time and two part-time staff, we struggle to meet this growing demand.
MCRS needs to enhance our ability to provide timely support to families and individuals in order to speed up the preparation process for their claim for all those who need it. We have to increase our volunteer team and develop our training capacity of those volunteers so that the quality of our work directly improves the chances of a refugee claimant's application. This is particularly true of our translation and interpretation team who provide essential support for clients who cannot afford to pay professional fees for these services.
Every donation leads to a changed life! Thank you for supporting MCRS and the people we serve!