For the Townsman
Kootenays Care for Refugees is a small grassroots group of friends who came together in response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, as many others in Cranbrook and across Canada. We were inspired to work together to sponsor what at the time was an unknown family to our beautiful town of Cranbrook, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. We are one of numerous groups in Cranbrook and Kimberley working towards a similar cause, but the first to have a family join our lovely little town and would love to share our experience.
Our simple idea has now come to fruition and reality, with a Syrian family of four (mom, dad, and two boys aged six and eight) having arrived on February 19. They are now permanent residents of Canada, and are entitled to any benefits that any other permanent resident of Canada receive. The family originated from Homs, which prior to the Syrian civil war, was a major industrial centre, and the third largest city in the country but has been a main center of the conflict and has been significantly impacted with many lives ruined or lost. The family has been living as refugees in Lebanon for the past three years.
The family arrived to a fully furnished apartment, a group of dedicated and excited friends, a whole new world of opportunity and a new future for their children. They are now settling in, with their children enrolled in school, english lessons started, and they are quickly learning the ins and outs of Cranbrook. The easy part is now done, and we look to our fellow citizens to open their hearts and lives to this family in a world full of new opportunities.
This new hope could never have happened without the hard work and dedication of the group of friends, their patient and supportive spouses, and excited and beautiful children. We would like to send a huge thank you to the volunteers of Friends of Burma for all their help and support with this sponsorship, Bridge Interiors, Save on Foods, Rocky’s Donair, our committed interpreters, the numerous kind-hearted individuals who have contributed money directly and to our Gofundme account, as well as those who have helped in various ways both during preparations and since the family has arrived.
Thus far, we have a held a small number of fundraisers, including a garage sale, burlesque show, and pierogi sales. Also planned, is a pancake breakfast on April 15 at the Ktunaxa Nation Council Gymnasium, Indian Taco sales soon, and other ideas as they come.
We would again like to say a big Thank You to Cranbrook for being so kind and giving. However, now that the family is here, we are also looking for donations to help the family truly enjoy what our town has to offer. We would love to provide the young boys and father with bikes to ride around town, on the Rotary Trail and Rails to Trails. We would like to also provide them with other equipment, like soccer gear and clothing for our varied seasons, to explore and play in the beautiful outdoors that make this such a wonderful place to be. Financial donations can be made directly at the East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKCC), on our Gofundme page OR you can contact us at Kootenayscare@gmail.com or check out our Facebook page Kootenays Care for Refugees.
Another exciting way to help is by spreading the word about the father being a tailor. He started sewing when he was 12 years old and has already completed two fine projects locally. He looks forward to continuing with his trade. If you have a project please contact Sherri McPherson at 250-464-4564 and she will help with arrangements.
Submitted by Kootenay Care for Refugees