MCC has been involved with private refugee sponsorship work since the program began. In fact, in 1979, we were the first non-profit organization to sign a private sponsorship agreement with the Canadian government. 

On Sunday, June 5, MCC is one of several organizations who will tell stories about work that contributed to the people of Canada receiving the UN refugee agency's Nansen Refugee Award thirty years ago. The award recognized the work the people of Canada did to alleviate the suffering experienced by refugees around the world.

Here are several photos from those early days when we, with help from Mennonite and Brethren in Christ churches, helped resettle some 4,000 Southeast Asian refugees.

MCC representatives gather to sign a private refugee sponsorship agreement with Canadian government officials.MCC photo/Rudy Regehr

This small boat landed on Thai shores on January 4, 1985 with 35 persons aboard. Shown here is MCC staff Victor Neumann, himself a World War II refugee, the Vietnamese camp chief, and several children who arrived by boat.MCC photoSoutheast Asian refugees arrive at Winnipeg airport, May 2, 1979. MCC photo/John WielerStu Clark, refugee resettlement staff person with MCC Canada, greets Boun Kwang and Boun Suan Keomany at the Winnipeg Airport. MCC photo/Bruce HildebrandAmong the refugees sponsored were those classified as hardship cases—such as large families, single-parent families, and families with illness. Pictured is the Hoong family, whose father died while in the Macau camp near Hong Kong. On the left are Ernie and Elsie Rempel, with their daughter seated on the floor. They represent the Sargent Ave. Mennonite church, in Winnipeg, which sponsored the Hoong family.MCC photo/Robb NickelRefugee families often became a part of the communities that sponsored them. Pictured here is Richard Wieler with his new friend Bunthuy Tong.MCC photo/Martha JanzenOtto and Florence Driedger with Pat and Rad at their wedding in Heath, Ohio.MCC photo/Linda SawatzkyEsther Dick assists Sophin Chau, a recent refugee, with English lessons. In foreground is Buntha, 3. Bunthuy, 7, is in the background. MCC photo/Martha Janzen