Jaivet Ealom, the author of Escape from Manus and Escape from Manus Prison, writes a heartfelt plea for your assistance. Please read, and consider being part of the effort to bring a young couple to safety and security in Canada.

Asking for you to join me 

Hello there,


If you’re reading this, you probably know me personally, or at least know my story. My name is Jaivet Ealom, and I came to Canada after fleeing persecution in Burma, where there is an ongoing genocide against the Rohingya people.


Along the way, I spent more than 5 years in offshore detention on “Manus”, the island prison for refugees run by Australia. The story of that journey is featured in my book Escape from Manus Prison and a related TedTalk.


Since coming to Canada, I’ve been fortunate to start my life again – as a U of T student, and refugee advocate. And every day I appreciate the support of those who got me here.


A couple at risk

And now I need your help. There is a young married couple, one of whom is a relative and loved one of mine, who managed to escape Burma, but will be sent back there if we don’t find him another option. His passport will expire within a year, and there’s no hope of renewing it, thanks to the government of Burma, which continues to make war on the Rohingya people.

"Returning to Burma could be lethal, especially now that the country is in the midst of a brutal civil conflict."

The couple's only chance at peace and safety lies in Canada, through our private sponsorship program. Myself and four of my dear friends here in Toronto have put together a group of five that is ready to submit an application. Because the couple has refugee status from the UNHCR, they are eligible for the program.


The challenge

What’s holding us back? Funding. We hope to collect the $25,000 CAD that the government requires for a couple. The funds are held in a trust account by two members of the sponsor team until the couple arrives, when it becomes the funds they use to live on during their first year.


The money will all go directly to the newcomer couple when they arrive, without a penny for processing or for the Canadian government.

Jaivet Ealom is the author of Escape from Manus (Penguin Australia) and Escape from Manus Prison (Penguin Canada)

Why now 

We need to act fast, since there's a long wait between submitting an application and the people arriving, and the clock is ticking on my relative’s passport.


Yes, $25,000 is a lot, but not when you break it up into 25 donations of $1,000, or 50 donations of $500.  The donate button is just above, and it brings you to a PayPal donations page. Or if you prefer sending the money directly to me, let me know! My email is

One way or another, we’ll get there – together, so please spread the word!


And thank you.


Jaivet Ealom