Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group prepares for African family

Family from Eritrea will be third supported by community group

Members of the Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group are ready to bring a third refugee family into the community.

In 2016, the group sponsored two families from Syria.

The families have now adapted to living in Summerland, and the group’s financial commitment came to an end last February.

“We still help them, as we would any friend,” Doug Holmes, president of the sponsorship group, said during the annual general meeting on Jan. 31.

The group contributed around $7,500 to help the two families last January and February, but finished the year with more than $33,000 in assets.

“We didn’t do any active fundraising in 2017,” Holmes added.

The group is now working to bring a family from Eritrea, in eastern Africa, to Summerland. The family consists of a father and mother, a 13-year old boy and three girls, aged 12, nine and three.

Holmes said there are more than two million refugees in 63 countries worldwide. Most live in refugee camps and are waiting to find permanent homes.

For 2018, the Canadian government is planning to take in 43,000 refugees, an increase of 3,000 from last year’s number.

Most will come to Canada through private sponsorships or through a partnership between the federal government and a private group.

As the Summerland group prepares to bring the family to Canada, they are looking for volunteers to provide help during the transition period.

Both the Syrian families have stated they are willing to help the Eritrean family with their transition to life in Canada.

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