5 - Jennifer Mpungu
Friday, November 3, 12:00 p.m. - Panel on Refugee Issues
Migration, Resettlement and Newcomers Program Coordinator at Mennonite Central Committee in BC
Building Bridges to New Lives for Refugees - Panelist
Jennifer’s first experience of a refugee story was meeting asylum seekers in Sweden who had fled the racist and repressive Apartheid government of South Africa. Their stories of sacrifice and courage had a lasting impact. Years later, after leaving the diplomatic corps, she reconnected with the refugee world when she took on an assignment with CARE International in Kenya, working in the Dadaab refugee camp- the largest such camp in the world- developing and monitoring programs aimed at equipping refugees for the three durable solutions- repatriation, integration and resettlement.
Presently, she provides leadership to a portfolio of related programs comprising of the Single Parents Support Project (Surrey), New Foundations (Vancouver), Refugee Claimant Support (Vancouver) and the Private Sponsorship of refugees. From her Abbotsford office, she equips and partners with Mennonite congregations, families and diverse groups to sponsor refugees from overseas while advocating for refugee rights and policies that support newcomers to Canada. She considers herself blessed to be in a position where she can combine ministry and her passion.
Jennifer has also played different roles on a volunteer basis with the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Vancouver Interfaith Refugee Committee, the Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) Advisory Board (Abbotsford) and the Inasmuch Society Abbotsford. In 2010, she ably represented Canadian NGOs at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, Geneva, an event which brings together the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the governments and NGOs of resettlement countries like Canada to share information and strategizing in support of refugee resettlement and had the opportunity to promote Canada’s unique Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) model.
Jennifer is an active immigration practitioner but in her spare time, Jennifer enjoys reading, walking and gardening. Most recently her greatest joy is being a first-time grandma. She and her family have called Canada and Abbotsford home for the past 14 years.