West Kootenay Friends of Refugees support local settlement of two Burmese refugee families with film night

By Contributor
November 7th, 2012

As part of the Rossland Mountain Film Festival and supported by the Rossland Council for Arts and Culture, West Kootenay Friends of Refugees (WKoR) presents the film “God Grew Tired of Us” (89 min).  The film is a recount of the experiences of 3 boys who fled war in Sudan and re-settled in the United States. 

WKFoR wished to bring awareness to community members of its initiative to sponsor 2 families who are moving to Rossland.  WKFoR is raising $20,000 to help support the two refugee families for their first year of re-settlement in Canada. 

These funds will support one year of modest living expenses for four adults and their four children. This includes shelter, clothing and food. We are also securing in kind donations for furniture, transportation, education, dentistry and cultural support to help the families learn about life in Canada.  Both families have school aged children which will help facilitate integration within the community.

Date/Location:Monday, November 12, 6:30pm at the Miner’s Hall, Rossland

Cost:  $10, proceeds to the West Kootenay Friends of Refugees

Advanced tickets available at Out of the Cellar, Columbia Avenue, Rossland



Refugees are those people who have fled their home country due to a well founded fear of persecution. After fleeing the repressive military regime in Myanmar which continues to persecute ethnic minorities, these two families are currently living in refugee camps in Malyasia, but they cannot settle there permanently. Groups and individuals in Canada are able to apply to privately sponsor refugees who have been approved for resettlement to a third country. This is separate from the government’s regular immigration program. Private sponsorship enables more refugees resettle and start new lives.  

 About the families moving to Rossland

The two refugee families that the WKFoR are sponsoring to Canada were persecuted for their ethnicity during the decades of military rule in Burma (currently? Myanmar).  They were conscripted as slaves in labour camps and managed to escape to Malaysia where they have been living as refugees for more than seven years.  The families are currently working as street vendors and doing odd jobs to survive, always under threat from gangs, violence and poverty.  In one family, all the men were killed during the civil war.  

Benefit to our community

Diversity is a trademark of Canada and sponsoring Burmese refugees to rural BC is important to improve diversity, cross-cultural learning and develop global citizens in our rural regions!  Despite suffering many human rights abuses, our sponsored families have career aspirations, passions and goals to make a fulfilling and positive contribution to Canadian society.  Former refugees that have been sponsored in south-eastern BC on average have supported themselves within nine months via employment in service jobs that other Canadians were not interested in.  These are highly motivated, grateful, and humble individuals.  We are confident they will enhance our community and our country socially, economically and culturally.

The West Kootenay Friends of Refugees (WKFoR) is a small group of local citizens who are based out of Rossland, BC. The group has wide representation from the community and shares the common goal of sponsoring refugees to Canada. Sponsoring refugees to Canada is a new initiative for most members of the group so a big learning curve is taking place!

Other News Stories