Are you a refugee outside of Canada and looking to be privately sponsored? Here are some tips on how you can do it. (And if you read in Dari: پناهندگان نیاز به کمک: روند ما اینجاست )

Tip #1: Check your refugee status

Make sure you either have full refugee status (from the UNHCR for example) or happen to be LGBTQ, since there is a separate program for gay and trans refugees.

If you don't have either of these things, you're going to need a church or other Sponsorship Agreement Holder to be your official sponsor, and generally speaking, they are all booked!

Tip #2: Check your financing

Make sure you have a way of getting yourself financed. You can't pay for your own application, so you need to know people who have money!

The Canadian government expects $16,500 per person (less per person in a family) to be put in a bank account before you can even apply. You use this money when you arrive.

And yes, that's a lot of money to collect. But that money can come from anywhere - Friends in Germany! Friends in Australia! Friends back home! Or even your friends and sponsors in Canada! As long as it doesn't come from you.

Tip #3: Find friends

There are so many good and deserving people who should be sponsored to come to Canada. But because they only know me, they're not going to be sponsored any time soon. To those people, we recommend: KEEP MAKING FRIENDS!

In recent days, we've seen people get sponsored because they have connected with someone online or offline who cares about their story, and has money to help pay for the sponsorship. Or just wants to be a sponsor, also very important.

"We all need friends to accomplish anything in life."

Could you be the next lucky person to apply to come to Canada? You'll only know if you keep meeting people online and in person, and telling your story. So get out there and network!

Tip #4: Share your story

There are better ways to get privately sponsored than writing long private messages or public posts that tell your life story and how you became a refugee. Be creative! Be thoughtful! If possible, be positive!

A video blog is one of these better ways to help people overseas get to know you. Check out these video blogs by Yasin Bakhtyar and Javed Hazara. Your own beautiful photography or artwork - include the featured image by Pariya, a Persian woman in Turkey - is another. They lift you from the crowd of other displaced people with (usually very sad) stories to tell, and establish your unique voice and value in the world.

This Wordpress blog, also written by Yasin Bakhtyar, is great because it touches upon his history - just touches on it - but also talks about what he is doing to make the world a better place in the here and now.

Because life isn't just about the past, it's also what you do with the present. If you are able to do positive things, even in very tough circumstances, that is what you need to focus on.

Have a read and be inspired!