On June 19th, Jumpstart hosted a Gala for World Refugee Day at the WeWork office at 240 Richmond St West. We had a stellar turnout of over 140 attendees, the largest event to have ever been hosted there! 

Our panel featured honoured speakers such as Minister of Women and International Development Maryam Monsef, Rana Khan of UNHCR Toronto, and James Madhier of The Rainmaker Enterprise. Opening remarks were delivered by our co-founder Mustafa Alio. The distinguished speaker list discussed important refugee issues and made remarks to mark the celebration. Mustafa brought up the importance of supporting refugee economic empowerment and James stressed the effects of climate change and infrastructure on refugee groups. 

Works of art by refugee artist Omran AlFalour were displayed around the venue, including his famed paintings Illiteracy, Massacres, and Never Let Go. His visual style aims to “communicate to the wider world what he was observing around him” during the Houla Massacre of 2012 (Imranovi artist website).

Despite a short fainting mishap, the event went on — thanks to the emergency assistance of one of Jumpstart’s volunteers, a doctor from Sudan who himself was also a refugee. The event also featured a fundraising raffle featuring prizes such as a $500 Paramount Foods gift card, 3 bottles of Jack Daniels, and a Culture Package (including Hot Docs and Gardiner Museum tickets and a private documentary film screening of From Syria with Hope). Delicious catering was provided by Soufi’s, a Toronto-based refugee-led business, as well as a special cocktail list courtesy of Brown Forman honouring some very impressive refugees.

Overall, our World Refugee Day Gala was a success, and we couldn’t be happier to have had the opportunity to bring the community together for such an incredible day! Jumpstart is thankful to its sponsors, attendees, and team for making it all possible. We are proud of the strides Canada has made to improve the lives of refugees and look forward to contributing towards this goal in the future.

Maryam Monsef

Government of Canada, Minister of Women and International Development

 Art by refugee artist Omran AlFalour

Catered food

Courtesy of refugee-owned restaurant popular in downtown Toronto: Soufi’s