West Kootenay Friends of Refugees Welcome the San Family to Mountain Kingdom
After a long flight from Kuala Lumpur, the San family arrived at the Cranbrook airport on Dec. 10, and were welcomed by WKFoR chairperson Kathy Moore. To facilitate their transition, arrangements were made for them to spend their first night with a Burmese family who have been living in Cranbrook for some time and who had been sponsored by the East Kootenay Friends of Burma.
In preparation for the significant change in climate, Moore crammed her car with warm clothing and also provided a car seat for the youngest member of the family – a two and a half year old toddler. On the morning of Dec. 11, the Sans were driven through the spectacular winter scenery of the Kootenay Pass to their new home in Rossland.
The local group of sponsors has been fundraising for two years and more recently working to set up a home for the new arrivals. They would like to thank all Rosslanders who have made donations of money and other items. In an earlier press release we asked for an angel to step forward to help with a suitable living space for the San family and were fortunate that our request was answered for the first six months of their new life in Canada. After that time period, the sponsor group will be looking for other accommodation.
As the Sans settle into Rossland, the WKFoR group members will be visiting daily to help with language acquisition, budgeting, using the bus, shopping and all the routines of Canadian life. The goal is for this family to be integrated and independent by the end of a year. Under the blended sponsorship program, the local group’s fundraising will be supplemented by social assistance from the federal government for the first six months.
The San family fled ethnic and religious persecution in Burma based on their Christian beliefs and have been living for several years in Malaysia, a country that offers respite but no permanent asylum to refugees. Burma was on the list of five countries identified by the Canadian government in 2013 as having refugees most in need and best able to resettle in Canada.
For more information or to offer help, please contact Kathy Moore (email@example.com) or call 250-362-3319