Local group holds discussions on Syrian refugee crisis

  • Oct. 28, 2015 2:46 p.m.

A group of Red Deerians have come together to discuss the Syrian refugee crisis through community meetings to develop understanding and support for the issue.

Together the Central Alberta Refugee Effort (C.A.R.E) and Catholic Social Services (CSS) make up the Red Deer Immigrant Centre. It was through this group that a community conversation was held last week to discuss the issue at large and how local people can get involved.

“The meeting was a public information session. Over the past month or so, we’ve been discussing the Syrian refugee and humanitarian crisis that is evolving, both in the Middle East and in Europe. The primary reason for the meeting was to bring the public up to date on what is happening and how private citizens, community groups and faith communities can support Syrian refugees,” said Alice Colak, vice-president of Immigration and Settlement Services with CSS.

In addition to general information provided about the Syrian Refugee Crisis, attendees were exposed to possible ways they could help those in need.

Private sponsorships, housing families and supporting overseas organizations were a few of the recommended avenues.

“Annually, Red Deer receives around 70 refugees from refugee-producing countries and regions. Over the past year and a half, out of the 75 refugees that came to Red Deer, about 24 were Syrian. We’ve already begun receiving Syrian refugees, but I think over the past month, ever since the photo of the boy who drowned escaping Turkey, people have become more aware and want to know how they can help,” said Colak.

According to Colak, this session was one of many that have been held throughout the province.

These sessions are funded by the provincial government as part of a community engagement strategy to inform citizens about the issue, and about what supports and programs exist in communities for refugees.

Colak said eventually the conversations will focus on coordinating the receiving of refugees into communities, once they know how many refugees will be excepted into Canada.

“These people spoke with great compassion and generosity. Not everybody can help in the same way, so we talked about how people could form together as part of a sponsoring group or a community group,” Colak said.

“We went through some of the options that people might have, and then some of the participants provided other options like housing a family temporarily while they’re finding a permanent place to live. Others offered donations and those kinds of things.”

Colak said at the meeting she feels Red Deer has a big and generous heart.

“We’ve been accepting Syrian refugees for years and it’s been a bit slow for Red Deer.

“There is a community being established. Other refugee groups include people from Iraq, Ethiopia and a variety of other countries,” she said.

“There will be more meetings regarding how many refugees Canada will accept, how many will be coming to Alberta and how many will come to Red Deer. We will meet with all the key service providers and stakeholders to bring everyone up to date, and then we will develop a community plan as to how we can support them.”

kmendonsa@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Tools for Schools program in need of school supplies for students

Supplies will be donated to students across Central Alberta

Smiles Thru Lindsey Foundation hosting a drive-in movie fundraiser

Excitement building as the big event draws closer

Expansions rolling ahead at Red Deer Hospice

Six new rooms will provide care to 100 additional residents each year

Red Deer RCMP warn public about online job scams

Red Deer man applied for a construction job and was asked a fee to process his application

Central Alberta Buccaneers come up short against Monarchs

Bucs’ lose star quarterback in heartbreaking affair

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Pesticides linked to bee deaths will be phased out in Canada, sources say

Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are a class of pesticides used by farmers and hobby gardeners alike

Wildfire smoke blankets B.C. and Alberta, prompting air quality advisories

About 25 new wildfires were sparked between Monday morning and midday Tuesday

Stettler woman facing 67 fraud-related charges appears with co-accused

Crown likely proceeding with more serious charge of indictable offence

Wetaskiwin Co-op robbed of laser tool, propane torch

Wetaskiwin RCMP attempting to identify two individuals involved in numerous thefts

Judge OKs Weinstein suit, cites casting couch’s history

Actress Kadian Noble can sue disgraced Hollywood mogul for violating sex trafficking laws

Employers to raise salaries 2.6% on average next year: report

Firm points to factors such possibility of more trade protectionism, rising interest rates

Lacombe Council passes second reading of cannabis bylaw

Public hearing sees opposition to bylaw; third reading coming Sept. 10th

UPDATED: Cars plunge in Italian highway bridge collapse; 25 killed

Five more people are injured and in serious condition

Most Read