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Yazan Alhajali

Australian Diaspora Steps Up or Ads Up Canada is a grassroots volunteer group begun in 2019 and is a registered Canadian Charity organization. Our goal is to inform, connect and empower Canadians and Australian expats to welcome refugees impacted by Australia’s offshore detention and asylum seeker policies through Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program. These refugees tried to reach Australia to claim asylum but were intercepted and sent to offshore Islands (Nauru and Manus, PNG) for over 8 years. They have suffered prolonged inhumane detention in conditions that have been condemned by international bodies such as the UNHCR, Doctors without Borders and Amnesty International. Through a unique initiative called “Operation #NotForgotten (ONF)”, we partner with MOSAIC, a Sponsorship Agreement Holder located in Vancouver, to bring refugees to Canada. As a Sponsorship Agreement Holder, MOSAIC reviews and submits all refugee applications and Ads Up Canada recruits settlement teams across Canada to provide support once refugees arrive. The funds to support refugees’ resettlement have already been raised through significant fundraising in Australia, Canada and the USA over the past year. Ads Up Canada works with volunteers in provinces across Canada, including ON, BC, AB, SK and MB, who work together in groups, or settlement teams. Settlement teams have similar responsibilities to private sponsors in the PSR program. Settlement team members act as the applicant’s “sponsors” and are responsible to provide settlement support for refugees during the first year upon arrival.