Kiran Pal-Pross is the other half of the takeover team on instagram this week and Logistics Director for the Pemberton Refugee Resettlement Group (prrg.ca).
She explains in her post why she’s motivated to help and where she learned that one person can move a heart, and a group of people can move a mountain.
My first experience with refugees was while travelling in northern India. The Tibetan people were friendly and cheerful. I admired them, knowing the trek over the mountains was risky and treacherous and being displaced from their ancestral home must have been confusing and emotional. How lucky they were, I thought, at been given a new beginning.
I wanted to support them in some way, and met a kind woman who spoke a little English. She invited me to sit on her blanket beside a parking lot and take a look at her jewellery for sale. It wasn’t made by her; it used to belong to her family and she had to sell it to buy food.
While we chatted about the different pieces, a man hopped on his motorcycle, parked next to us. He started his engine, pulled out slightly, quickly reversed so the back of his bike was facing the woman, and revved his engine, twice. Exhaust blew into her face from just a metre away. I jumped up to stop him but he zipped away, laughing.
I checked back to see if the woman was okay. She shrugged.
“I am a refugee,” she said, as if his actions had been justified somehow.
That experience haunted me, and seared my heart. When I returned to Canada I joined Students for a Free Tibet and marched alongside Tibetans in exile. I helped to coordinate two fundraisers and raise awareness of their cause.
When I moved to Pemberton my friends lost their home due to a mudslide in 2015 so I helped, along with many, many generous folks, to organize a fundraiser to help them find a new place to live.
I jumped at the chance to join the PRRG, a group of compassionate and inspired individuals and organizations who believe Pemberton has what it takes to help a refugee family feel at home away from home.
This week, I would like to introduce you to a few people whose hearts have also been seared, and who perpetuate this community’s reputation of being a refuge in the valley.
Follow along at instagram.com/thewellnessalmanac