How to help refugee crisis locally

"The Canadian government has promised to streamline the process for sponsoring Syrians, so that would be a good place to start."

Thank you for your interest in the work of the West Kootenay Friends of Refugees and our new Eritrean family (“Choosing refugees to help a heart-wrenching process for WK group,” Trail Times Sept. 9).  People are visiting our website and at least one sizeable contribution has been made online.  We really appreciate the support.

Sponsoring one small family does little to address the problems of the 60 million people now living as refugees in our world.  It’s hard for small groups of people like us to influence governments who have created such difficult situations for their citizens that they feel there is no choice but to flee. However, until we can figure out an effective way to do that, we might as well help where we can.  Think globally but act locally.

The WKFoR would like to invite the people of Trail to join us in this effort.  Your city is perfectly set up to welcome newcomers.  The climate is moderate, rents are reasonable and all the services required by new citizens are available in the downtown core. Many of your residents understand and can empathize with the immigrant and refugee experience.

The Canadian government has promised to streamline the process for sponsoring Syrians, so that would be a good place to start.  All that is required is a small group of committed citizens prepared to do some fundraising,  planning and hands on work. You could start by researching how to access some of Christy Clark’s newly announced million dollars to support sponsorship in B.C.

Our group in Rossland has experience and a willingness to help with any aspects of the process that seem daunting.  If we can do it, you can too.

For more information visit our web site or just google the government sites devoted to sponsorhip.  There’s a wealth of information available and many programs to choose from.

Over to you,Trail!

Jan Micklethwaite

Jill Peacock

Christine DeMarco

Co Coordinators: West Kootenay Friends of Refugees