Castlegar's refugee family is coming from the Chin region of Myanmar (Burma).

Castlegar's refugee family is coming from the Chin region of Myanmar (Burma).

Castlegar preparing to welcome refugee family

Castlegar Refugee Project has been matched with a family from Myanmar (Burma).

The Castlegar Refugee Project (CaRe) has some exciting news — they have finally been matched with a refugee family.

The group explained its struggles to be matched with a family and their decision to accept a family from another part of the world than they were originally expecting in a statement.

“CaRe’s quest for a Mid-Eastern family has been disappointing since February when the federal government’s quota of 25,000 Syrians was met.

“Many other communities like Castlegar have also been waiting for a family, but the numbers of refugees from the Middle East available to sponsoring groups since the quota was filled, dropped to the same number as asylum seeking refugees from all over the world.

“In other words, Syrians or Iraqis are only approximately two per cent of all refugees Canada is accepting, and some of those request settlement in a large city.

“One other reason the team has accepted the Burmese family is that the Canadian Visa offices will not be processing any new cases until October.”

The team is excited because they have now been successfully matched with a family from Myanmar (Burma).

The project team is looking forward to welcoming this family, a young couple and their one-year-old daughter, who originate from the rather isolated western Chin State in Myanmar, and who escaped to Malaysia where they have been awaiting permanent settlement.

The CaRE team is well prepared for the family having housing, household goods, medical care and tutoring lined up for months.

The family is expected to arrive as early as August, but may take longer depending on what kind of travel arrangements can be organized.

The family’s documents and travel arrangements are being handled out of the Canadian Immigration office in Singapore.

If anyone has any Burmese language skills, the team would appreciate your help as translators.

There is a Burmese family in Rossland that has offered to help out with interpreting, but having assistance with language in the Castlegar area would be very helpful.

From the limited information available, it is understood that the family speak Hakka and/or Chin, and perhaps Haka Burmese.

The Chin people’s ancestry is Tibetan. “Though we don’t know this family’s particular history, the Chin are predominately Christian in this Buddhist country where they’ve been persecuted in the past as a religious minority, as have been other non-Buddhists,” explained CaRe chair Rosemary Manarin.

The father of the family has skills in carpentry, carpet laying and farming, and CaRe hopes that once the family is settled that job opportunities will be available locally.

Fundraising will continue to be ongoing as the family’s future needs are yet to be known.

Things such as clothing, training, education, medical expenses and a vehicle may arise in the coming months. The group also still holds out hope to sponsor a Mid-Eastern family in the future.

The Castlegar Refugee Project team wants to let the community know that they appreciate the amazing support shown to this project.