As Canadians have been doing for more than three decades, refugees from Syria and many other countries turn to our nation's food banks, because government supports for the most vulnerable don't even provide enough money to cover the most basic necessities.
As I flew home from Jordan earlier this year, I tried to digest all of the stories I had just heard: Families of Syrian refugees telling me of their ornate houses back home, now destroyed; of their extended families all living together, many of those family members now dead; of being forced to flee everything that they knew within a matter of minutes, even seconds.
Each refugee-producing situation is different and could be caused by a range of catalysts, including war, political unrest, terrorism or even climate change. However, within each situation, there is one constant: that the needs of girls consistently go unheard and unmet.
Today, we mark World Refugee Day, amidst the most challenging and troubling time for global refugee protection since World War II. It is time to turn the global focus away from the cruel and illegal means now used to keep refugees away; and instead embrace our shared international responsibility to ensure they are safe.
The current global migration crisis has been exacerbated by governments shirking their obligations to protect people during their most vulnerable moments. States are increasingly disregarding their responsibilities to uphold the rights of migrants and refugees, and are failing to treat them with humanity and dignity.
The sad reality, however, is that millions of children around the world are deprived of play due to war or natural disaster. On World Play Day, we want you to meet ten children who may have been left with little, but still have the courage to keep playing.
Despite the fact that children themselves consistently prioritize education above all else, when asked about their greatest needs during times of crisis, less than two per cent of humanitarian funding currently goes towards education. There is still a very narrow perception that when a crisis hits, education is simply a nice to have, rather than a need to have. Food, water, shelter and sanitation always seem to take precedent. And although all of those things are essential, I reject the notion that education is not equally as important.
When you think of a not-for-profit organization, "change agent" probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But maybe it should be. Today, more and more not-for-profit organizations are not only making a difference, they are making it by doing things differently.
The Makani Centre sits in front of one of the only green spaces in Baqaa. Makani Centres are UNICEF-support initiatives to expand learning opportunities for vulnerable children in Jordan. Here in Baqaa it is a hive of activity for those Syrian children who cannot go to school.
Canada is the only country in the world that allows private citizens to unite to sponsor refugees, by taking on a commitment to welcome them and support them as they take refuge in the safe and tolerant country of which we are lucky to be a part.
As weeks, months and years fly by, we are all missing opportunities to talk about real things -- important things -- with our parents. There are things that only they can answer or explain. Sadly, the reality is that when they pass, many of those answers, explanations and stories will go with them. So why are we wasting time? Why don't we ask them the questions that would explain events that shaped them, decisions they made and important lessons they learned? Questions that would yield new insights, understanding and compassion... for people we think we know so well?
Right now, 71 per cent of Canadians do not want Canada to accept above the original target of 25,000 Syrians. The warm feeling of moral righteousness is not particularly useful for devising a policy at a time when 60 per cent of Americans agree with Donald Trump's proposal to ban entry of all non-citizen Muslims to the United States.
As thousands of new Canadians settle into Canada, among the many things that they'll need to take into consideration are their tax obligations. The Canada Revenue Agency provides in-depth resources for New Canadians to learn more about our tax system, and their filing requirements.
There are times where living out of a backpack is forced upon us. Homelessness, war or even a mundane loss of luggage in transit make our backpacks less of an accessory and more of a lifeline. When I was living with my family in Senegal in 2012, I almost had one of those circumstances happen to me.
"Bravo, sister. I honour you. I would do anything to take away some of the pain that you've experienced. And I know that I'll never understand what you carry around inside. But your children -- they're so beautiful. And you've used all of your resources -- your love, your patience, and your creativity -- to keep them alive and healthy. You've taught them when there was no school and comforted them when there was nothing comforting to say. You've made 'home' in camps, tents, and on the side of the road. I will do whatever I can, through my donations, through my prayers and through my writing, to help carry your children to safety and happiness."
Any meaningful and inclusive peace process entails the inclusion of young people. That's why World Vision Canada is urging the Government of Canada to focus on ensuring their voices are heard. Let's involve them in the discussion. By doing so, I'm convinced we will arrive at sustainable solutions we could never have imagined without them.