08 Jul 4.4 End of Sponsorship
Users of this online learning resource are responsible for connecting with government and local organizations to ensure access to relevant information on refugee sponsorship in their community.
Preparing for the end of the sponsorship period
It is important at the beginning of the sponsorship period to highlight to the people you are sponsoring the extent of your commitment. Namely, point out that your legal responsibility to sponsor them ends at a certain point, and discuss the steps you plan to take together during the sponsorship period in anticipation of its conclusion. The goal of refugee sponsorship is the refugee newcomers becoming self-sufficient at the end of this period. This may not always happen. That said, it is up to your group to decide whether to continue supporting them past the sponsorship period, and in what capacity.
Throughout the sponsorship period, your group must continuously think of ways to provide support and work towards self-sufficiency. This consideration can become even more pronounced towards the end of the sponsorship period.
Situations that may arise at the end
- Refugee newcomers may have found a job.
- Refugee newcomers may be unemployed and require social assistance.
- Refugee newcomers may speak the local language to their desired level.
- Refugee newcomers may not speak the local language.
- Refugee newcomers may or may not want to leave the community.
- Refugee newcomers may be involved in social or economic projects within the community.
- Refugee newcomers may have less and less contact with the sponsorship group.
- Refugee newcomers may be relying on the sponsorship group for certain tasks.
- Consider revisiting managing expectations to prepare for these conversations!
Continuing financial and settlement support?
- Ensure the budget reflects the family’s financial situation after the sponsorship period.
- For example, prior to arrival, consider housing that they will be able to afford based on a conservative estimate of potential income/benefits after the sponsorship period.
- Meet the refugee newcomers half-way and two to three months before the sponsorship period ends to discuss how they are doing, their goals and the support you provide. Specifically, you can focus on adjustments needed leading to the end of the sponsorship. These meetings can be important to manage expectations on both ends.
- Hold a separate group meeting to discuss adjustments needed in the support as well as what support, if any, to continue providing after the sponsorship period ends. Here is a case scenario you could discuss with your group:
End of Sponsorship Scenario
You and your group are sponsoring Sofia, Ivan, and their three children. It is the last month of the sponsorship period. Ivan used to be a dentist in his country and Sofia an accountant, but both of their licenses are not recognized in the country of resettlement. As such, Ivan was disappointed when he arrived, and he refused to take many job offers until he got an internship opportunity in human resources. Meanwhile, Sofia has been busy full-time with medical appointments, completing her language classes and, now plans to go back to university.
Ivan tells you that he is supposed to finish the unpaid internship program in two months, after which the company has agreed to give him a full-time paid position. If he finishes the internship and accepts the job, the family will not need to go on welfare.
However, if the family does not have financial assistance next month, during which Ivan will complete his internship, the family will have to go on welfare, which is not enough money to cover their current rent. If the family is on welfare next month, they will need to relocate far outside of the city, where both Ivan’s commute to his place of future employment and Sofia’s commute to classes will be about 90 minutes. Ivan tells you he is quite determined to take the job and asks if your group can still provide support until he can take over the rent payments so he and his family do not have to move.
What do you and your sponsorship group members need to consider in reaching a decision to provide further support?
What should the group consider if they decide to continue to give financial support?
Check In: Considering continuing support
There are a number of considerations for sponsorship group members in deciding whether or not to lend continuing support to the refugee newcomers in this scenario. In this check-in, you should consider how you would react to this situation.
Put yourself in the position of one of the sponsorship group members supporting Sofia, Ivan, and their three children. Now that Ivan has told you that, in the last month of the sponsorship period, that he and his family will require support after the end of the month in order to secure their future plans, how would you approach this situation with the rest of the group. Briefly write down what you think would be the best course of action, and why.
Evaluating the Experience
As a group and individually you may want to reflect on the sponsorship journey, the support provided and think about what your takeaways are. You may find it useful or interesting to write your conclusions, and some stories (which respect confidentiality and privacy) to illustrate them.
Not only would you have reminders about some of the significant things you learned that could be helpful for your next sponsorship, but it could also help you mentor other sponsorship groups. Documenting and evaluating your experience is a lovely reminder of how rich it has been.
This questionnaire may be useful for your sponsorship group to go through together at the end of the sponsorship period.
1. What sponsorship goals did your group set before the refugees’ arrival? (Did they change? If so, which ones? When? In what ways?)
2. Did these changes affect how you supported the people you were sponsoring?
3. What are examples of successes of the sponsorship? How did you achieve them?
4. What were some of the challenges of the sponsorship? How did you overcome them?
5. What were your expectations of the sponsorship?
6. Did those expectations change during the sponsorship? If so, when and how.
7. Did your changing expectations affect your approach to sponsorship?
8. What do you believe were the refugees’ expectations upon arriving?
9. Do you believe their expectations changed over time? If so, when and how?
10. Did their changing expectations affect your approach to sponsoring them?
11. Were their expectations met?
12. Were their needs met? (If yes, which ones and how? If no, which ones and why?)
13. What feedback have you received from the refugee newcomers on their sponsorship experience?
14. How self-sufficient were the sponsored refugees at the end of the sponsorship period?
15. In what ways were they self-sufficient?
16. In what ways were they not self-sufficient?
17. What are examples of actions you took to encourage self-sufficiency?
18. How effective was communication between sponsorship group members and refugee newcomers throughout the sponsorship period?
19. What are examples of challenges you had? (e.g. in your sponsorship group; with the newcomers; with others)
20. Looking back, is there anything you would do differently?