We are ROAR

Reaching Out Assisting Refugees is a volunteer organization of LGBTQ people and allies who live on Vancouver Island. We are a diverse group of professionals, retired people, students and community members who are part of a larger movement of Canadians dedicated to sponsoring sexual and gender diverse refugees from around the world who have fled persecution in their home countries.


Like our sister organizations around the country, we want to harness the talent and generosity of our community. ROAR has received support and financial contributions from individuals and organizations in Nanaimo and across British Columbia including Rainbow Refugee, 100 Women Who Care, Foundation of Hope, the Rotary Club, and various businesses in the Nanaimo area. ROAR cooperates with other refugee organizations in Canada. In 2021 ROAR became a member of the Rainbow Coalition for Refuge.

ROAR is grateful for the assistance of Brechin United Church, which has partnered with us for many years to facilitate the sponsorship process. 

The ROAR board is very active. Since our founding in 2016 we have held awareness-raising events, participated in various Pride marches, and organized major fundraisers. 

In 2018 ROAR sponsorship groups brought two refugees from the Middle East to safety in the Nanaimo area. A third person was resettled from Africa in 2019. In the same year we created a sponsorship group to bring two more refugees from Africa to Nanaimo. Applications were submitted, funds were raised, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed their resettlement process. It is our hope that they will finally be able to travel to Nanaimo by the end of 2022.


Despite the restrictions imposed by the expanding pandemic, in 2020 ROAR created yet another sponsorship group to resettle a sixth refugee, also from Africa. In addition, members of the ROAR board were involved in the formation of ARC (Assisting Refugees Cowichan), which works out of the Duncan area. This new organization quickly formed a sponsorship group in June 2021 to resettle a young gay refugee from Africa. ROAR's newest sponsorship group consists of volunteers from Gabriola Island, who first met in June 2022. The person they resettle will be the seventh refugee to be brought to safety by ROAR.

ROAR continues its work assisting sexual and gender diverse people fleeing persecution. We welcome your interest and support.