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Our story

Many refugees are victims of torture, including sexual torture, which has catastrophic effects on their physical, psychological and social well-being. They face challenges in accessing support and services for rehabilitation. Those problems are exacerbated when they are in flight, lack shelter, and lack social or medical support. Lamp Lifeboat Ladder recognizes the need of torture survivors to resettle in safe countries, while receiving support in rebuilding their lives.

LLL’s mission of resettling survivors has been fully brought to life by the Canadian government, which enacted temporary public policies facilitating placement in Canada of up to 90 torture survivors, along with their family members. Under these public policies, Lamp Lifeboat Ladder has brought 27 survivors and their families to Canada so far.

Global law firm Reed Smith is the primary implementing partner along with the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture (CCVT) and other Canadian and international NGOs. The partnership combines the creativity of the private sector with the regulatory capacity of the public sector and the social representation of civil society to help refugee families.

Lamplifeboatladder has so far raised US$1.5 million, including CAN$250,000 from the Boston-based Shapiro Foundation and contributions from other philanthropists, such as Dean Dakolias, chief investment officer of Fortress Investment Group.

In fall 2020, LLL proudly submitted its first two applications for resettlement to the Canadian government. These were Syrian families totaling 11 persons. Since then, other families have been accepted; and by winter of 2022, 27 survivors and their families - a total of 82 people - have resettled in Canada with the opportunity to integrate into a peaceful and safe society.

Also, since inception the Canadian government has three times extended the cut-off date after which it will no longer accept refugee applications through LLL. The most recent extension is for an additional three years, meaning the cut off date is now September 2025. This gives us plenty of time to identify and accompany more survivors and their families to safety in Canada.

We are proud to be one of the few organizations with a mission of relocating refugees to be moving forward with relocations in spite of the pandemic. The project is continuing to leverage investments and donations from individuals, businesses and foundations to provide housing, rehabilitation care, psychosocial support and employment opportunities to torture survivors resettled in Canada. The team must raise enough funds to support 90 refugee survivors of torture, along with their families, in their quest for a new life.

Ahmad Hussein

The cost of resettling these refugees and providing support for two years ranges from US$18,000 to $35,000 per person. The hope is to raise enough money to resettle all 90 refugees who have been identified for this program, along with their families, which the team estimates will cost between US$2.5 million and $3 million.

Lamp Lifeboat Ladder is currently supporting the initial wave of 27 families in Canada, identifying, vetting and selecting additional applicants now in Greece and Jordan, and raising funds to ensure that financial and settlement support is available in Canada to all families for two years each.

In addition to donations, the project is getting international recognition. In December 2021, Lamp Lifeboat Ladder was shortlisted for an 2022 Legalweek Leaders in Tech Law Award for ‘Innovation in pro bono.’


What do you know about war?
What do you know about her?
About a scared child,
About a doll that fell from her hand,
About a song that lost its way,
About a family that fled leaving their morning tea at the table,
About a bored house longing for its parents and children's laughter.

Ahmad Hussein
(Poet & Cheesemaker)

"When I lay down to go to sleep I don't fall asleep. I think about the things that I went through. I keep crying. I cry because I use a wheelchair now. Whenever I see the chair I keep crying."


"I am always isolating myself and locking myself in my room. Sometimes I feel very pressured and I leave my children with their father at night and go walking and crying. I'm not aware of people around. When I am conscious, I realize I have walked very far and then I walk back home."


“The person that is drowning would look for anything around him to hold onto. I feel like I am drowning, but I cannot find anything to hold onto.”

Ahmad Abu Nabout

Our key milestones

Established human rights team at Reed Smith LLP

Established women’s protection project in Haiti

Established refugee protection project in Jordan

Established mobile legal clinic in Greece

Established torture victim rehabilitation project in Greece

Launched public-private partnership to resettle refugees to Canada

The first cases were approved and families began resettling in Canada

More than 85 survivors now resettling in Canada; more on the way

Get involved

Help us aid refugees who have survived torture and trauma to discover a new life by supporting their relocation to Canada.