Basilian Human Development Fund Promotes Peace and Justice at Home and Abroad
December 7, 2020
Each year, the Basilian Human Development Fund provides financial assistance to programs and projects that promote a biblical vision of peace and justice. This year, $250,000 was awarded to 38 local and international organizations. The aim of the fund is to go beyond helping people directly and to challenge systems that promote inequality. The Basilian Human Development Grants Committee supports projects that empower the poor and marginalized and, when feasible, involve them in planning and executing the project. Here is a glimpse into some of the projects the grant is supporting this year:
Camp Micah started 12 years ago with seed money from the Basilian Human Development Fund. Over the years, the grant has continued to help subsidize the cost of participating in a six-day overnight summer camp for youth developing an awareness of social justice and peace-making actions. Participants gain self-confidence and leadership skills and build relationships through outdoor activities, presentations, and personal reflection. The program motivates and inspires youth to be leaders that promote peace and justice and to have the self-confidence to challenge unjust systems in their communities.
“I’d like to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to have had such an incredible experience at Camp Micah this year. I learned many new lessons, made plenty of friends, and really truly had a better understanding of life simply by attending the camp for 6 days. I believe that my favourite part of camp was the fact that I was able to meet so many different people from many different backgrounds, religions, and such. I also enjoyed hearing life stories from the people in my small group. It changed my perspective on my life, and made me more grateful for everything I have. I’ve always been interested in making a difference in the world but camp gave me even more motivation. Camp gave me a better understanding of who I am as a person and has helped me make better choices in my life. The people at camp became my second family, and it was an incredible feeling to be able to open up to them and know that they would accept me for who I am no matter what. I honestly can not express into words my gratitude towards whoever supported me financially. Camp Micah changed my life forever and I can not wait to return. Thank you.” Regan Lackner, Camp Micah participant
Among the recipients of the Basilian Human Development Grant is the Romero House, which welcomes immigrants seeking immigration status in Canada. Through a grant of $8000 from the Basilian Human Development Fund, they are able to hire a worker through its Romero House Worker Program. A worker spend a year living in one of the Romero House houses and accompany newly arrived families through Canada’s refugee determination and settlement process. In Canada, only four of 10 refugee claims are successful, but at Romero House, more than seven of 10 claims are successful. Romero House credits this success rate to the close interaction between its workers and refugee claimants that allow refugees to more easily navigate the bureaucratic application process.
“The emphasis here placed on building truly meaningful relationships that go beyond the typical dynamic of worker/client to that of friend and neighbour is important, but just because it fosters a more sustainable and healthy community, but because it means that at Romero House, value is recognized not just in office work but in spending time together socially and supporting families and individuals in different capacities,” writes Claire Kingston, Romero House Worker
FCJ Refugee Centre
FCJ Refugee Centre was awarded $5000 for its Dismantling Barriers to Education program. Funds from the Basilian Fund Development Grant will allow the FCJ Refugee Centre to advocate for equal access to education especially for those living without permanent status in Canada. Refugee claimant children are barred from accessing the classroom at the elementary and secondary level for lacking ‘necessary immigration documentation’. This occurs despite policies that outline the right of each child to education. The Centre provides newcomers with the support system to gain access to education. At the post-secondary level, youth without permanent status are determined to be international students and charged the much higher international fees. The high tuition is a prohibitive cost that bars these youth from accessing higher learning and furthers a system of inequality and injustice. FCJ Refugee Centre has built relationships with educational institutions to create pathways for precarious status youth to pursue post-secondary education without being subjected to international fees.
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