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We are ROAR

We are volunteers dedicated to providing a safe haven to LGBTQ refugees facing serious persecution.

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 collaborates at the national level through its membership in a broad coalition called From Borders to Belonging, whose vision is that of a world without barriers, where people of all diverse sexualities, genders, and sex characteristics can thrive and live safely.

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 delayed their resettlement process. 

2024 Update:

We are pleased to report that those two young people from Africa were finally able to fly to Nanaimo in April 2023. They have been living in Nanaimo for more than a year. Both are studying and working at the same time. Our sixth sponsorship group, which formed in 2020, is still waiting for a refugee unfortunately delayed in an African country.


Our seventh sponsorship group, based on Gabriola Island, welcomed a person from Asia in October 2023. Groups 8 and 9 have formed and have begun the complicated process of sponsorship. Thanks to all our volunteers and supporters for your support and hard work.

ROAR continues its work assisting sexual and gender diverse people fleeing persecution. In October 2023 we became an incorporated society in British Columbia.


Clickable logo for Mid Island 100 Women Who Care
Clickable log for Rainbow Foundation of Hope
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