Williams Lake Refugee Sponsorship Group members Kristen Konge (left)

Williams Lake Refugee Sponsorship Group members Kristen Konge (left)

Refugee family to arrive in September

The Williams Lake Refugee Sponsorship Group is expecting a refugee family to arrive mid-September in the lakecity.

The Williams Lake Refugee Sponsorship Group is expecting a refugee family to arrive mid-September in the lakecity.

In early July, the group was asked to sponsor two related women from Liberia with their three school-aged children.

The family speaks both English and French, and as two of the sponsorship group’s founding members had actually worked in Africa in a nearby country, it seemed a good match.

“We hope that the family will be happy here, and find their own place in the community over the next few months,” said Paola Konge, president of the WLRSG.

“Once they have a chance to think about a future, we will help them to reach any new goals they set for themselves.”

When the family arrives they will be welcomed into a home already lovingly furnished through generous donations from the Williams Lake community.

They will receive some assistance from the WLRSG and the federal government while they get settled and learn more about Canadian culture and the Williams Lake area.

Formed in October 2015, the sponsorship group wanted to help a family come to Canada to begin a new life in a safer community with more opportunities.

More than 50 people joined the group, and $30,000 was raised over a few months, allowing the WLRSG to work through the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay as a Sponsorship Agreement Holder with the federal government.

According to the UN’s High Commission on Refugees, 1.8 million more people have been forced to leave their countries in the past few years, adding to the 21.3 million refugees worldwide at end of 2015.

Among them, Syrian refugees were the largest refugee group in 2015 at 4.9 million. There are a further 40 million people displaced within the borders of their country, no longer able to live safely in their home communities.

Some refugee camps house hundreds of thousands of people, sometimes more than one generation removed from their home. That means that more than 60 million people (nearly twice the population of Canada) have been forced from their homes and countries under terrible conditions.

Although the Syrian crisis was obviously on everyone’s mind, the WLRSG decided that it wanted to offer assistance to a family of four to six people from any part of the world where conflict made it too dangerous for people to stay.

Liberia has seen many years of armed conflict and struggle, and the WLRSG was happy to be able to help this family relocate to a safe community where particularly the children could have better opportunities in life.

Donations for the family are still welcome: please contact Sharon Taylor (778-412-2999) at Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society for more information.


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