The Canadian Red Cross is looking for multi-lingual phone line volunteers for their First Contact refugee assistance program!

tamil refugees

Tamil Refugees. Photo Courtesy of Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

Many refugee claimants arrive in Vancouver with minimal resources and face the daunting reality of being homeless. With little knowledge of the services that can provide help and no one they can really trust, they are extremely vulnerable. The Red Cross First Contact program aims to provide these refugee claimants with the tools that will help prevent marginalization, distress and exploitation. –

The Canadian Red Cross First Contact program is a 24-hour phone line refugee claimants can call for assistance upon arrival in the Lower Mainland.  First Contact provides refugee claimants with access to information, referral services and emergency assistance, all in their native tongue.  Phone line volunteers use cell phones to take calls from refugee claimants who are seeking information and help with accessing local services and resources.

These volunteer positions are suitable to mature individuals who are able to:

Preferred second languages that the Canadian Red Cross is looking for are:

girl holding sign

Photo Courtesy of the Global Movement to Support Tamil Refugees in Merak

With the recent arrival of the Tamil refugees to Canada, and all the resentment and hostility that they face, it is especially pertinent that these people have access to reliable information and resources while they wait to find out if they will be granted Canadian refugee status.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in Vancouver have agreed to provide claimants at all ports of entry, in detention, and at CIC offices with a Red Cross card that provides First Contact program contact information. Inland claimants can also access the service through community agencies. –

To express an interest in these volunteer positions and receive a full position description and volunteer application please email First Contact at:

By Flavia Kajoba