Queen's Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Queen’s Law students help Syrian refugees settle in Kingston

Jess Spindler, Kaisha Thompson, Lauren Wilson and Rosa Stall.
Working on the Queen's Law Refugee Support Program are (l-r): Jess Spindler, Kaisha Thompson, Lauren Wilson and Rosa Stall.

Several third-year law students at Queen’s University have come together to welcome Syrian refugees to Kingston.

Jess Spindler, Rosa Stall, Kaisha Thompson and Lauren Wilson have created the Queen’s Law Refugee Support Program after receiving training through the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program. The Queen’s Law program is already offering assistance to Peter (his name has been changed to protect his identity), a 26-year-old who fled the violent civil war in Syria.

“We are now working to help him deal with the realities of living in Kingston,” says Spindler. “That includes shopping for groceries, banking, getting a job and dealing with the cold weather.”

Thompson says it’s helpful that they are the same age as Peter so they can help him through the loneliness. “Cultural isolation is a definite issue so we are trying to get Peter to meet with other Canadians and members of the Kingston community who speak his language, people who understand where he is coming from.”

Initially, the Queen’s group was going to help with paperwork for new refugees. With the federal government assuming those duties, they are now focused on fundraising and helping refugees resettle in the community. They have launched a Tilt campaign which is getting close to $1,500. Dean Bill Flanagan has been a key supporter in the students’ efforts and the program is supervised by Professor Lisa Kerr.

“The campaign has been going really well,” says Wilson. “The Dean and the entire law school have been very supportive.”

“We are here to help and that means many different things,” says Stall. “We are prepared to assist with any tasks and want to continue to reach out as more refugees arrive in the future.”

Arriving on Boxing Day, Peter was the first of three Syrian refugees who have been formally sponsored by a group of Queen’s faculty, staff and alumni to arrive in Kingston.

For more information about how to assist, visit the Queen’s Law Refugee Support Program Facebook page or email Jess Spindler at jess.spindler@queensu.ca.