WKFOR receives discouraging news

By Contributor
October 29th, 2013

The West Kootenay Friends of Refugees, (WKFoR) based in Rossland, BC received some discouraging news this week. WKFoR has been fundraising for two years to bring two families to Rossland. While still waiting for news of their arrival, the group received some unexpected information.

Both of the families had fled from Burma to Malaysia. Due to the long delay in the Canadian immigration process, one family has now immigrated to the United States. Recent and escalating religious conflict between Muslims and Buddhists in Malaysia caused the other family to go into hiding. Unfortunately the Canadian Immigration office could not find them to continue the immigration process. WKFoR’s Burmese contacts have since located them. The Rossland group hopes to bring the family to Rossland in 2014.

“While this has been a set back,” said Kathy Moore, from WKFoR, “we are more committed than ever to help vulnerable people escape persecution.”

The Canadian government started a new refugee program in 2013 that streamlines the sponsorship process. A limited number of persons from specific countries are allowed to immigrate if sponsors can be found for them. Refugees from Burma, Iran, Iraq, Columbia and Bhutan were the focus of the program in 2013.

“We see two main advantages to this program: the government will contribute to the living expenses of these refugees for the first six months in Canada and the process only takes one to four months,” added Moore. “This will be a huge advantage to a small private sponsorship group like the WKFoR. But we are still required to provide financial and settlement support for twelve months.”

WKFoR treasurer, Susan Shaw said “Many thanks to the Greater Trail community and all their generous donors and ongoing support. We are continuing to fundraise, so watch for upcoming events.”.

“Our focus will continue to be on bringing a family with children from one of the countries in need selected by the Canadian government in 2014,” said Moore.  “At this point we anticipate that a new family will arrive in the spring and we will be actively seeking rental housing for them in Rossland.”

Anyone who is interested in volunteering or with information about potential rental housing contact Kathy Moore 250-362-3319 or km@2cats.net.

Categories: General

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