An inital meeting to discuss whether Saturna could or should sponsor a refugee family from Syria turned into a consensus that it really was possible if the communuty got behind it. Fourteen people signed up to continue the discussion and go deeper into the questions. As Katie Dentry wrote on the Saturna Island Forum & Message Board later, "Sounds like we have a experienced immigration official and lawyer ready to help us get started, an Arabic translator, a counsellor who will be visiting our island clinic at least once per month, retired educators willing to be ESL teachers....so the pieces seem to be falling into place." Many people stressed that even if we simply provide a safe and welcoming haven for a traumatised family for the first year, it would go a long way to help them heal and adjust to living in Canada.
A follow up meeting will be held February 20 at 1 pm in the Community Hall. Several coordinators from the Pender Island Refugee Project will come over to attend and are eager to offer us their assistance and expertise. Everyone is welcome to participate.
As Katie put it, "So start thinking about whether you might want to help with this initiative (and there are LOTS of ways to help-- financial contributions, coordinating, fundraising, offering legal or accounting expertise, using your networking abilities to access resources the project/family might need, etc.). If we each do a little, we can accomplish a lot. Think about it."
Join in the discussion at the Community Hall, 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 20th.