This is a guest post from Kiran Pal-Pross to recap the Pemberton Refugee Resettlement Group’s weeklong takeover of our instagram account.
I would have liked to send a video to our refugee family, of the week leading up to our Barn Party fundraiser. It would have clips of the planning sessions, the organizations providing cheques, equipment and volunteers, and the 45 volunteers handing out flyers, preparing food, setting up on the big day, and performing to a huge crowd of supporters. There was a lot of love throughout the process.
If we could send it to our refugee family now, they would know how much support there is in Pemberton for their arrival and well-being. But we don’t know who our new neighbours will be until about three weeks before they arrive. They’re likely still waiting in a UN camp, unaware that they’re close to moving out.
We recently screened the film 19 Days, one of the National Film Board’s thousands of films available to view on nfb.ca. In the first 19 days of settling in Canada, the families and individuals seeking refuge in our country went through an overwhelming number of orientations, documentation meetings and counselling sessions. Some had health and mental health issues. All were experiencing culture shock. I wish the few people who have asked us why we’re bringing a family to town when there isn’t enough housing for them, could have seen that film, or one of the many others depicting the plight of refugees.
In Canada we have the ability to write to our Members of Parliament, to make our voices heard to our local representatives, and to fight for our rights and values. Many of the people seeking refuge in this country have not ever had those luxuries. I think we can make room in our community (and in our hearts) for a family who has undergone unimaginable hardships. We are a global community, and the way we treat the disadvantaged shows who we are.
If the Barn Party and the support this cause has received so far is an indication of our generous community, I’m proud to be a member.
The proceeds of the fundraiser, $10,747.76, will be split between the Pemberton Refugee Resettlement Group (PRRG) and the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. That bumps up our total funds raised considerably toward our goal of $35,000.
Stay tuned for updates to the PRRG fundraising ‘thermometer’ on our Facebook page.
Community love and sharing is community wellness. We thank the Winds of Change for allowing us to share our journey.
PRRG Logistics Director