The West Kootenay Friends of Refugees (WKFoR) are getting ready to welcome a family of four Syrian refugees, (parents and two small children) to our area.
Thanks to the generosity of people in Rossland, Trail, Fruitvale and Castlegar, WKFoR has raised enough funds to begin the sponsorship of the Abdins, who are expected to arrive in a few weeks – and maybe even sooner.
The WKFoR group will help them get settled in the cozy home of one of our members which will be a nice change from the crowded situation in the Turkish refugee camp near Ankara where they have been living for the past two years.
Recent photos of the camp show the ground covered with snow and shivering children without warm coats living in the cloth tents provided by the Red Crescent (the Muslim version of the Red Cross).
WKFoR members have been signing up for a variety of tasks as we set up the living space, collect clothing, books and toys, stock the cupboards, organize paperwork, find medical and dental services, prepare a budget and financial plan, create an orientation binder and organize in-home English lessons as well as those that will be provided by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy.
Most importantly, since the family only speaks Arabic, we have located a translator, living in Rossland, to help us communicate with the Abdins and help them adjust to their new lives in Canada.
The family will have a difficult job ahead of them, learning English, adapting to a new culture, taking on job training and raising their two small children so far from familiar surroundings and people they love.
The WKFoR members encourage everyone in the surrounding communities to make our new guests feel welcome and appreciated. Our region is lucky to have so much to share with those who need our help.