April 29, 2022—Ottawa, Ontario – The Government of Canada is working hard to resettle at least 40,000 Afghan nationals as quickly and safely as possible. Canada has now welcomed a total of 12,160 Afghan refugees, with more arriving every week.
As we mark National Volunteer Week, we recognize the profound impact the volunteer efforts of Canadians have had on newcomers and their well-being. The theme for this year is “Volunteering is Empathy in Action” and each day, countless individuals and businesses show empathy as they welcome refugees into their communities. Through small and large donations, they have helped make Afghan refugees feel at home:
- Qumers Wejdan, an Afghan lawyer from Toronto, Ontario, organized an Afghan Refugee Resettlement Campaign, in collaboration with Children Without Borders and the Canadian-Afghan Lawyers Association. The fundraiser surpassed its initial goal of $25,000 and has raised over $40,000. The funds helped pay for airfare, medication, food, and basic supplies.
- GOAT, a hair salon in Calgary, Alberta, offered free in-salon experiences to Afghan refugees. Salon staff coordinated volunteer stylists and barbers to provide the haircuts. While the stylists were prepared to travel to the resettlement centres, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) coordinated the transportation of Afghan newcomers to provide a full in-salon experience. In total, GOAT has provided more than 80 haircuts, at a value of approximately $4,000.
- Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) supported Afghan refugees arriving in Canada across its group of companies. Through the Association for New Canadians, Mark’s donated gift cards worth more than $17,000 to 110 Afghan refugees in Newfoundland and Labrador, adding a further 25% store discount on their purchases. Mark’s Commercial helped one of the larger resettlement agencies in the Calgary area make bulk winter garment purchases. CTC has also donated more than $260,000 in essential products to assist with resettlement efforts across Canada, with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities donating sports equipment and toys for families with young children.
- Books Over Borders, based in Calgary, donated books to Afghan children. The books have universal themes to help children manage a range of issues: how to deal with fear, overcome difficulties, build self-confidence, find peaceful solutions, and work toward their goals and dreams. To date, Books Over Borders has donated approximately 1,800 books to Afghan children in Canada and will donate another 1,000 in the future.
- Constable Mustafa Popalzai, a former Afghan refugee and now member of the Toronto Police Service, with the help of his partner, Constable Farzad Ghotbi, created Project Hope. They enlisted the support of community partners such as Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services and local donors to gather in-kind donations for refugees. To date, they have received over $300,000 worth of clothing, toys, and household items and continue to deliver essential items like beds, blankets, and kitchenware to newly settled Afghan refugees.
Canada has a long-standing tradition of charitable giving. Local and community-driven donations help build social bonds and gives a sense of common purpose.
Photos of previous Afghan arrivals are available in Dropbox for use by media. You can also monitor Canada’s progress on welcoming Afghan refugees to Canada.