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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The West Kootenay Friends of Refugees (WKFoR), a newly formed society, is sponsoring two Burmese families to Rossland, British Columbia, Canada. The WKFoR is raising $20,000 to support the two refugee families for their first year of re-settlement.

Refugees are people who have fled their home country due to a well founded fear of persecution.  W are fundraising to provide our two families with a new home where they will enjoy a safe environment, the opportunity to eat, sleep, work, be educated, and live in peace.

Who are the families moving to Rossland?

The two refugee families were persecuted for their ethnicity during decades of military rule.  They were conscripted as slaves in labour camps and managed to escape to Malaysia where they have been living as refugees for more than seven years.  The families are currently working as street vendors and doing odd jobs to survive, always under threat from gangs, violence and poverty.  In one family, all the men were killed during the civil war.

What are we fundraising for?

We plan to support one year of modest living expenses for four adults and their four children.   This includes shelter, clothing and food.   We are also securing in kind donations for furniture, transportation, education, dentistry and cultural support to help the families learn about life in Canada.  We have a fundraising goal of $20,000.00

How will this benefit our community?

Diversity is a trademark of Canada and sponsoring Burmese refugees to rural BC is important to diversity, cross-cultural learning and developing global citizens in our rural regions!  Despite suffering many human rights abuses, our sponsored families have career aspirations, passions and goals to make a fulfilling and positive contribution to Canadian society.  Former refugees that have been sponsored in south-eastern BC on average have supported themselves within nine months via employment in service jobs that other Canadians were not interested in.  These are highly motivated, grateful, and humble individuals.  We are confident they will enhance our community and our country socially, economically and culturally.  In addition, both families have school aged children which will help facilitate integration within the community.

Your contribution

Please consider a donation to help us reach our goal of $20,000.  Together we will make a direct difference for these eight people by giving them the opportunity to call Rossland, BC, Canada their home. You can find out more about our two families, their history and their dreams on our website www.friendsofrefugees.ca.

Our sister organization provides charitable tax receipts for donations over $20.00.  You can donate online via our website: www.friendsofrefugees.ca or by sending a cheque to: West Kootenay Friends of Refugees, P.O. Box 1597, Rossland, B.C., V0G 1Y0.  Please note our group is completely volunteer run and all overhead expenses are donated in kind.

Thank you in advance for your compassion and consideration,

The volunteers of the West Kootenay Friends of Refugees

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