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Community sponsorship allows individuals, groups and organizations to collaborate to emotionally, socially and financially support the reception and integration of refugees in third countries.

Canada was the first country to implement a private sponsorship program in 1978, allowing corporate and citizen groups to sponsor refugees. For a long time this was the only program in this area. In 2012, Australia launched its pilot, leading other countries to follow, recognizing its importance, especially after 2015, with the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria and the Mediterranean.

There is no single definition for refugee sponsorship schemes as there are multiple models and programs to be implemented. In these, groups, individuals or organizations take responsibility for supporting refugees for a period of time. This support tends to be emotional, social and financial. The terms “private sponsorship” and “community sponsorship” are often used interchangeably, often having the same meaning. Despite the slight difference, private sponsorship programs differ from community sponsorship programs according to the nature of the sponsors. In the former, the sponsors are mostly private institutions, such as corporations or universities, and in the latter, they are community groups of citizens and organizations that share responsibilities between state or local authorities and private actors.

"The experience has been completely transformative for my community. It has brought different elements of our community together in an extraordinary way. Everything we have given has been given back to us by ten by the most amazing, inspiring and resilient family I have ever known."

Major Nick Coke, Raynes Park Pastoral Community, London, UK

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