There’s an opportunity for everyone in Red Deer and area to learn about cultures from Asia on May 11. Every three months or so the Central Alberta Refugee Effort organizes an event about a different continent in their ‘Around the World with C.A.R.E.’ series and this time it is an Asian Culture Night.
Volunteer Programs Coordinator Frank Bauer, who only arrived in Canada with his wife and son two years ago himself, said they want to introduce the public to some of the many cultures that are now part of an increasingly diverse Red Deer community.
“We want to share these new cultures with the people of Red Deer and make people more aware,” he said. “The month of May celebrates Asian culture, which is why we chose that continent. People from three or four Asian countries will talk about their background, heritage and culture and their stories about moving to Canada and Red Deer.
“They’ll talk about what’s good and what’s not so good. The idea is to give a snapshot, since Asia is so large and there are so many countries there.”
There should also be some traditional dances, music and a taste of some ethnic food and refreshments.
“We also want to find people who are interested in getting in closer contact with newcomers with a different culture. It’s important that newcomers get to know native Canadians already part of the Red Deer community,” he said.
“It’s all about public awareness and it fits in with the mission of C.A.R.E. to support the efforts of newcomers to get settled and become full-blown citizens of Red Deer. This is a welcoming community, but sometimes immigrants have a difficult time adapting to their new home.”
Bauer points out that there are two different groups of immigrants.
Some, like himself, choose to come here. Others, like refugees, don’t have much of a choice.
“They can spend years in a refugee camp until the United Nations or somebody decides they’re going to Red Deer, and they don’t even know where that is.”
Many would probably prefer to go back to their original home, but can’t for various reasons and end up in a new country where almost everything — language, culture, even the weather, is different.
Asian Culture Night takes place May 11 at The Hub (4936 Ross St. downtown) from 7 to 9 p.m.
C.A.R.E. helps immigrants and refugees to overcome barriers and participate fully in Canada as valued members of the Central Alberta community by providing support services, like English as a second language classes and a welcoming environment. Financial support comes from a variety of sources, including the United Way, the Life Long Learning Council of Red Deer and the provincial and federal governments.