MUN professor leads refugee-sponsorship effort

Patricia Dold, a professor at Memorial University, is rallying people to help privately sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come to Newfoundland and Labrador.
Memorial University professor Patricia Dold is spearheading an effort to sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come to Newfoundland. (CBC)

Memorial University professor Patricia Dold is rallying people to help privately sponsor a Syrian refugee family to come to Newfoundland and Labrador.

As a private citizen following the European refugee crisis, Dold initially didn't know what she could do to help.

When she realized private co-sponsorship was an option, she decided to do something about it, and quickly put a call out on Facebook.

"I thought why not just put a post on Facebook and say, 'You know, I'm willing to contribute at least $1,000, we need at least $27,000, who's in?'" said Dold.

Since last week, she's heard from more than 20 people who want to help.

"I think that for a lot of us, we're probably feeling guilty that the crisis has been ongoing for so long and feeling helpless about what we can do."

Dold estimates the total cost for a family of four to come to Newfoundland is around $27,000.

She's optimistic she'll meet that target.

"Even if it's just a matter of bringing one family to a peaceful place. It's a step in the right direction," Dold said.

"Obviously I'm not the only one who's motivated, there are lots of people out there who are motivated and lots of people who are getting the idea that private sponsorship is a real action that any of us can contribute to."

The Association for New Canadians is holding two public information sessions on Thursday in St. John's for anyone who would like to learn more about what s/he can do to help.

The hour-long sessions will run from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the  ESL Training Centre on Smithville Crescent.  

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