You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.


A Fruitvale couple has sponsored Rahaf Zwayne from Syria. Learn about this incredible story here!


Welcome! A long-awaited and eagerly anticipated refugee family landed in Castlegar Tuesday afternoon. Zing Men and Tha Tin and their adorable baby have come from Burma (Myanmar) via the Canadian immigration offices in Singapore after spending more than four years in Malaysia. Lun Lun Sun, also a Burmese refugee who arrived to Rossland in 2014, sponsored by WKFoR, was on hand to greet them! Lun Lun will have an incredible opportunity to share what she has learned about living in the Kootenays (and Canada) over the last two years.

More on this story here!


The West Kootenay Friends of Refugees is hosting a classical music concert to raise money specifically to help bring additional family members of our current families to Canada. Family reunification is important to building community and helping our families settle into their new life. This also helps ensure security for those closest to them that are still in need of resettlement.

Concert Posterpng


Welcome Rahaf to Canada!

The West Kootenay Friends of Refugees, and especially Melva and Ian Scott of Fruitvale, were thrilled to welcome Rahaf Zwayne to Canada. The Scotts are privately sponsoring Rahaf who is originally from Syria and most recently Istanbul, Turkey.  The couple met Rahaf while they were travelling in Turkey and have been in almost daily contact with her via Skype ever since.

The WKFoR would like to thank all our donors, especially those who attended a concert in February held to assist the Scotts with this sponsorship. Rahaf will be a real asset to the group when the Abdin family arrives (soon, we hope), since she speaks perfect English as well as Arabic.

Five days after her arrival, she spoke at a student symposium in Nelson May 17th on refugees and climate change. Her heartfelt thanks and experience are shared in this short clip: Rahaf speech

Interact refugee pic

Students from the RSS and J.L.Crowe Interact Club met on Wednesday, Feb. 24 with Christine DeMarco, of the West Kootenay Friends of Refugees.

Ms DeMarco, who taught several of these students as kindergarteners described  the work of the WKFoR and gave an update on the two families who have been sponsored so far.

The WKFoR is eagerly awaiting the arrival of a Syrian family, who should be flying in to the Trail airport shortly.  The Interact club had placed donation jars in RSS and J.L. Crowe and were pleased to present five hundred and fifty dollars to help with the resettlement of the new refugee family.

The students at L’ecole des Sept Sommets, the local French School, have been busy raising money and creating welcome materials to be displayed for the Abdin family in their new home. The family is due to arrive any day!

Refugee concert fundraiser Feb 13.png

29950traildailytimesSubmitted1stXmas2New Canadian families reflect on Christmas traditions past and present— Image Credit: Courtesy Of Sonia Tavares, CBAL


Rossland’s new Canadian families reflect with the Trail Times on their holiday season in snowy Rossland:


Canada’s national newspaper profiles two ski towns sponsoring Syrian refugee families (Rossland and Whistler)

Why do we want to sponsor a Syrian family? This brief yet powerful story shares a lot of why…


Linda J., a Syrian refugee, is photographed at her apartment on Dec. 3, 2015 in Baltimore, Md. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/ The Washington Post)

While this family came from another place, people can’t help but feel the human side of their experiences through the mother’s description of what happened. It’s clear that we are more alike than different and have an opportunity to offer comfort and peace to a family in need.



The Complete Canadian Experience

A Report from the Black Jack Tracks at Biathlon

By Sue Bushell


Just want to let you all know what a great day we had with our families today. Thanks to the wonderful help of Kate and Genevieve we got everyone up to Biathlon where the first JackRabbit session was.

Between the three of us we helped out with the ski bunnies as well as Michael-David and got Lun Lun San and Aung Ko Ko skiing. Ruta is happy to stick close to the kids. I think when we get out to Black Jack tracks, she will be more comfortable to go for a wee ski

All three boys seemed to just love it, and Yonathon only had one melt down and very few tears… which is amazing for him. Samuel is a natural skier and Eyebod was all smiles!!

Lun Lun San was the star skier of the day, and after I gave her a little lesson, she was doing a perfect diagonal stride, getting lots of glide, excellent double poling, a good snowplow down the steeper hill and an amazing “duckwalk” up the steep hills. She was just beaming and can’t wait to go skiing again.

Aung Ko Ko just loves it, but Michael-David (age 2) was not so happy in the little sled. Aung Ko Ko opted to play with Michael for much of the time, since he’s had several lessons and has a good idea about what to do. Next time we will make sure Aung Ko Ko gets lots of skiing time and he wants a lesson with me, so we will make sure we do that.

I have asked the club if we can use the club childrens’ ski polk/sled and they have kindly said we can use it without paying the rental fee. I think when Michael-David is all cozy in the lovely polk he will  be okay.

Then to my surprise, after the ski experience, Samuel and LLS still wanted to do the public skate at 6 pm in the Rossland arena … so we have all had a very fun and active day.