“Everything that divides us weakens us.” Source: Associated Press
The idea of being part of an organized group bringing refugees to Canada on an ongoing basis has resonated with me for several years. From late 2013 into 2015 we were part of a group that sponsored a family of Tibetans into our community, as part of Canada’s Tibetan Resettlement project. The group of 1000 Tibetans who have arrived, or hope to come to Canada, if they have private sponsors, are from the remote tribal states of northeast India, specifically the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
We were inspired to participate in this project because of our travels and volunteer work in India, in Dharamsala, the home of His Holiness the Dali Lama. Each Tibetan we met there, through our work, at Men-Tsee-Khang Medical Clinic or on the street, impressed us with their sincerity, groundedness and spirituality. Our lives have been deeply enriched through both our experiences in India and here in our home community. We will always remain close to our Tibetan friends in both countries.
Now it feels right to branch out, to step up and help with the needs of Syrian refugees. Many are waiting in Jordon, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey to be sponsored, either by governments or private sponsors. Conditions are very difficult. Last winter there were windstorms and flooding in Jordan. Many shelters in camps were destroyed. Urban refugees suffered through bitterly cold nights, sometimes below freezing.
We will be playing a small part in helping Syrian families, by being part of Christian Life Assembly’s church/community partnership that is bringing the first family to Gibsons, through a private sponsorship.
There are many things we can all do to help:
- Sponsor a refugee family
- Donate to private sponsorship groups in your community
- Donate to UNHCR to help refugees waiting to find homes
- Help sponsorship groups by being a volunteer
- Attend the CLC Valentine Dance Saturday February 13th (tickets through CLC, Laedli and myself)
Here are some informative articles:
Who are the 25,000 Syrians Coming to Canada?
United Nations High Commission for Refugees – UNHCR
“Whether we like it or not, we have all been born on this earth as part of one great human family…ultimately each of us is just a human being like everyone else: we all desire happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, each of us has an equal right to pursue these goals. Today’s world requires that we accept the oneness of humanity.”
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
PLS NOTE: The picture at the top is of a refugee child holding a picture she drew of her former home. Credit abcnewsgo.com.