Successful appeal for sponsorship of family disrupted by conflict in Tigray: plans now underway to sponsor a second family

A family affected by the Tigray conflict: Gaitom (upper, left) and Medhin (upper, centre) and their four children. (Submitted photos, used with permission)

By Dr. Jan Bigland-Pritchard, Coordinator, Office of Migration, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon

We are overwhelmed and delighted by the response of so many people to a recent appeal for Alem and her family, who are Tigrayan refugees from the on-going conflict there, living in tent camps in the Sudan. Given the positive response, the Office of Migration is now working to sponsor a second family affected by the conflict in Tigray.

In less than a month, the appeal for help raised the full amount needed to resettle Alem and her family through sponsorship as refugees to Saskatoon.

Roko and Negasi – recent newcomers to our community – got the ball rolling. They had been helped by Alem years ago when they were refugees in Tigray.

Then Christ Church Anglican parish stepped up to be the settlement team for the family, and generous Catholic hearts in the diocese did the rest, by raising the funds needed to undertake sponsorship of the family.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone for their help,” says a grateful Roko. “It is nice to know other people care about human beings they don’t even know. It gives me hope. I wish to help even more people. Please pray for these families, share the message and give what you can, big or small.”

Roko and Negasi now live in Saskatoon - they are working to help bring their friend Alem and her family to Canada. (Submitted photo, used with permission)

Roko and Negasi now live in Saskatoon – they are working to help bring their friend Alem and her family to Canada. (Submitted photo, used with permission)

The response has been so great that we are now looking at sponsoring a second family. Alem’s brother Gaitom, his wife and four children are refugees from the same conflict, and are living in a tent in Um Rakuba refugee camp in Sudan.

An anonymous donor has come forward and is willing to contribute significant funds for this family, on the condition that a Catholic parish can be found to become their settlement team (constituent group).

How you can help?

Please continue to pray for Alem’s family and Gaitom’s family as the rainy season continues.

If you live in Saskatoon, ask your priest and parish council about whether your parish refugee committee could become the settlement team for the second family. We cannot move ahead with the second family’s sponsorship without a sponsoring parish. If your parish does not have an active refugee committee at this time, perhaps now is the time to form one. Full training can be provided by the diocesan Migration Office:

You are welcome to donate towards the cost of the second family.  However, if a Catholic parish cannot be found to act as sponsoring parish for the second family, your contribution will go into a ‘seed money’ fund to help finance further refugee sponsorships in the future.

How to donate

Contact Dr. Jan Bigland-Pritchard in the Migration Office for further details, by emailing