Recruiting New Members

April 15th, 2014
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The University of Toronto Refugee Alliance is looking for new members for the 2014-2015 academic year!

Click to download the application form: UTRA New Member Application 2014.

UTRA Fundraiser March 19

January 27th, 2014
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Click here to purchase tickets or make a donation.

Click here to purchase tickets or make a donation.

December 18 Volunteer Day at Christie Refugee Welcome Centre

December 9th, 2013
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Interested in refugee issues in Toronto? Want do something positive for the holidays? The University of Toronto Refugee Alliance is organizing a volunteer day with the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre on December 18 from 10am to 3pm. Feel free to come out for the whole day, or just drop in for a couple hours. We’ll be helping the centre organize after some renovations and sort through donated clothing, but there will also be opportunities to learn about the different services the centre provides and find out about further volunteer opportunities. For more information email

If you’re able to come out to volunteer, please fill out the volunteer form so that we can keep track of numbers and provide updates: Be sure to wear comfortable clothing!

About Christie Refugee Welcome Centre

Each year approximately 400 refugees from around the world call the Welcome Centre their “first home in Canada.” The mission of the Centre is to provide temporary accommodation and initial settlement services for the families, as well as make referrals and provide practical items. The families we serve often arrive with very little and the support of Canadians everywhere allows us to extend a warm welcome to those who we serve.  To learn more visit our website:

Female Volunteers Needed! Borderless Higher Education

November 28th, 2013
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The Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project aims to make educational programs available where refugees need them, and now you have the opportunity to help!

At this early stage of the project, to support the education of women in the program, the BHER Project Team is seeking out a small community of women affiliated with the New Scholars Network (NSN) internationally to engage in an online community with women in Dadaab. This online community is a pilot project and will be designed as a private Facebook Group (Facebook is already in high use in the camps). Participants will be asked to actively engage with BHER students in Dadaab to discuss pursuing higher education, managing time and stress, intercultural norms, challenges and expectations encountered during post-secondary study, to name a few topics. More information about the Facebook Group and expectations will be available to interested persons.

Criteria for Participation:

  • Female aged 17-35 and enrolled in or completed an undergraduate or graduate degree
  • Interested to communicate with and learn from women in Dadaab who have been accepted into BHER
  • Interested to seek out and share resources about higher education and other professional/life skills related to academic success online
  • Some knowledge of Dadaab and/or the sociocultural conditions of refugee camps, including education and access to education. *If you do not already have this knowledge but are interested to participate you will be asked to do a bit of reading on the area and topic

Expected Commitment:

  • 1-2 hour/week online communication via Facebook
  • In the initial weeks/start up, there may be an additional 1-2 hours of emailing with project coordinators to set things up and ensure that all participants have a base-knowledge of the area and BHER program (some reading may be involved!)
  • This project is a pilot and the initial implementation and associated commitment from participants is from December 2013 until at least April 2014, though we are looking for people who are interested to maintain long-standing relationships with the people they meet in Dadaab online (who are pursuing certificates/diplomas degrees for the next 1-4 years). *i.e. we are looking to build community, not just ‘solicit volunteers’.

If you are interested in participation in this online community please send an email with a brief description of your interest in the project and your CV to Negin Dahya (York University Research Assistant and PhD Candidate) at

For more information on the BEHR Project visit












October 31, 2013 Reading Group Summary

November 3rd, 2013
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Thanks to everyone who was able to make it to the first reading group of the semester. The discussion focused on the millions who have been displaced because of the ongoing conflict in Syria. Lebanon also became a topic of discussion, as some elements of the conflict have spilled over into that country and aggravated tensions between different religious and political groups. There was an acknowledgement of the burden placed on host countries who find themselves home to large numbers of refugees, but also a sentiment that host countries and the international community need to do more to ensure access to medical care, education and other needs.

Later the discussion turned to the issue of refugees seeking asylum in North America, Europe or Australia. Often the journey can be a dangerous one, and even if refugees arrive safely they may face deportation, detention or be denied a work permit for a year or more. Refugee shelters and other groups play an important role in supporting refugees during this initial period.

October 31, 2013 – Reading Group

October 23rd, 2013
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The year’s first reading group will centre around the conflict in Syria and the issues faced by those displaced as a result. All are welcome to attend. The readings for the session are:


1) Health care access for Syrian refugees

2) Syria Crisis Timeline

3) UNICEF report on Syria

4) IRC Syria Review

More Articles Online Here:

5) The Economic and Human Toll of Syria\’s Worsening Refugee Crisis: Democracy Now! Interview with Omar Dahi

6) Photography: The Most Important Thing: Syrian Refugees:

7) (Dis)integration: Palestinian Refugees in the Syrian Civil War:

8)  Too Close for Comfort: Syrians in Lebanon

9) The Struggle of Twice-Displaced Refugees: Palestinians Fleeing Syria to Lebanon

10) The Syrian Refugee Crisis Intensifies

Day and location:

3-5pm Thursday October 31
Marvin Gerstein Room
Marvin Gerstein Science Information Centre, 9 King’s College Circle

Please leave a comment, or email us at if you have any questions.


Refugees in Toronto?

August 14th, 2013
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Courtesy of Matthew House Services

When we think of refugees we envision a slum in a vast desert in faraway lands. But refugees are in the midst of the urban, multicultural Toronto melting-pot.

To know more about the life of refugees in Toronto, visit the website of our friends at local centers:
Matthew House

UTRA’s Cruise for a Cause helps refugees

August 14th, 2013
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UTRA held its first annual boat cruise on May 31st, 2013. Funds were collected for the Scarborough Volunteer Clinic for uninsured refugees, and for providing scholarships to refugee students in Dadaab, Kenya. Here are some memories from the night! Thank you all who supported this event!


Welcoming 2013: Fundraising for Syria Emergency Reponse

January 22nd, 2013
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Displaced inside Syria: UNHCR and its Dedicated Staff help the Needy

The violence inside Syria continues to drive people from their homes, with some seeking shelter elsewhere in their country and others risking the crossing into neighbouring countries. The United Nations estimates that up to 4 million people are in need of help, including some 2 million believed to be internally displaced.

The UN refugee agency has 350 staff working inside Syria. Despite the insecurity, they continue to distribute vital assistance in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Al Hassakeh and Homs. Thanks to their work and dedication, more than 350,000 people have received non-food items such as blankets, kitchen sets and mattresses. These are essential items for people who often flee their homes with no more than the clothes on their backs. Cash assistance has been given to more than 10,600 vulnerable Syrian families.

Refugee Panel Discussion on April 5th, 2012

April 23rd, 2012
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FOUNHCR at UofT hosted its first awareness event of the year on April 5th, 2012 at Hart House. The event showcased the objectives and accomplishments of UNHCR, followed by an inspiring talk from Simon Kuany. Simon discussed his journey from war-torn South Sudan to the University of Toronto, while highlighting the issues concerning refugees worldwide and what we can do to solve them.

Many thanks to all those who attended!