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Updated: Mar 28

By John and Stephen

The Humans in Flight logo is based on a sculpture recognizable to many Toronto residents, especially those who have passed through our busy Union Station. It’s the Monument to Multiculturalism located on Front Street in downtown Toronto.

The statue was created by Italian artist Francesco Perilli and unveiled in Toronto on July 1 - Canada Day - in 1985.  According to this website, the original idea of the piece was to show the main figure, along with the birds (doves), attempting to bring together the meridians of the world to symbolize all people being joined as one. The main figure was intended to represent all humankind and was therefore designed to look generic so as not to be identifiable as being from any particular continent or region of the globe.

The statue is an iconic one, with a multicultural theme that fits well with the aspirations of Humans in Flight. Visually it captures the themes of a unified globe and of people taking flight. The logo translation of this statue was elegantly designed by Ali Reza Jaffri, who also produced the (purple) headers and graphics seen across the website and in our social posts. Ali Reza is himself a refugee in Indonesia, waiting for his own moment to take flight. 

Canada and the global refugee crisis

Humans in flight is a way for us to define ourselves, as refugees who came to Canada after fleeing war, conflict and genocide in our homelands.

If people living in Canada trace our ancestry and go back generations, most of us are migrants in some ways. Our ancestors, or maybe ourselves, have migrated for personal, economic, social, political, and other reasons. 

Choosing to move out of your country doesn’t necessarily make you a refugee of course. However, whether self-determined or forced upon a person, the transition to another country has one shared desire: to find a sense of safety and security in order to prosper and grow. 

We are motivated to relocate to better ourselves. Sometimes, it is to have a better future for our children and to find better opportunities or security. In our case, it was to save our lives. Whatever the reason, this movement of people has been central to human evolution throughout the ages. 

In our case as refugees, after fleeing from our countries, we struggled with a lack of human rights and were treated as lesser humans in many countries, where we sought refuge and safety. Finally, Canada's kind and compassionate citizens offered us their homes and hearts so that we could call this country our safe haven.

Finally, kind and compassionate citizens of Canada offered us their homes and hearts to call this country our safe haven.

Why Humans in Flight

Like us, there are still many refugees and displaced people around the world stranded in limbo, or in circumstances where they have no basic rights to rebuild their lives and are unable to live as humans. Through Humans in Flight, we aim to shed light on the suffering of these human beings, an underprivileged community whose voices have been silenced and who cannot share their stories with the world. 

Humans in Flight aims to give those humans a chance to share their stories in their own voice. By doing so, we hope to educate Canadians and the people around the world to understand the refugee situation better and inspire them to contribute to solving the global refugee crisis. 

How Canadians can help address this crisis

Canada has long been a leader in responding to global humanitarian crises. Our private sponsorship program was the world’s first, though it has since been imitated, with lesser degrees of success, in countries like Spain, Australia and the US. 

The program gives our citizens a unique ability to reach out to refugees around the world and give them a second lease on life through permanent residence in our country. Refugees sponsored through this program are in fact never refugees in this country. They arrive as permanent residents, with all the responsibilities and opportunities that status confers. Three years after their arrival, they gain citizenship.

Treating refugees as people and as worthy future citizens is part of what sets Canadian private sponsorship apart from those of other countries, which tend to place onerous restrictions on both the refugees and the sponsors, handicapping their own programs and making them unworkable.

Because we have this special gift, we believe it is the responsibility of Canadians to make the best use of it by taking part in the private sponsorship program. Being a sponsor is one of the most powerful ways to make the world a better place for vulnerable refugees, and we encourage you to follow the path of the Canadians featured in Humans in Flight to become a sponsor yourself. 

If that interests you, please visit the profiles page of our partner website, Hazara Hope, to view the stories of people who have contacted us and are eligible for sponsorship. And no, they aren’t just Hazaras: scroll down the page for a full list of bios. Visit our other partner website, Northern Lights Canada, for more details on the process and how to get involved.

That said, there are many ways to make a positive difference in the lives of the displaced. Whether you are donating time or money, or just raising awareness of the global refugee crisis, your efforts are noticed and welcomed.

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