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Kelowna  

Helping hand for refugees

There is no shortage of people looking to help refugees in the Okanagan.

This was evident Saturday, when 65 people showed up at Okanagan College for the Okanagan Refugee Coalition for Advocacy’s volunteer event. The purpose of the event was find ways to ease the transition for those new to Canada. 

“A very diverse group showed up,” said Christian, one of the attendees. “Students, retired individuals, business owners, and young parents all are here.”

The event explored some of the challenges new refugees might face. Issues that were brought up included learning English, job market orientation, childcare and affordable housing.

ORCA says more than 60 refugees have recently arrived in the Central Okanagan, all of whom could use some assistance.

“Family-to-family volunteering is one of the options we are offering people who want to get involved,” said Jamie Henderson, who has been involved in sponsoring Syrian refugees. “The Syrian family that we sponsored are some of our closest friends in Kelowna now.

“Kelowna is a city with huge capacity, resources and a heart to give back. While we cannot solve the entire crisis, we can do our fair share to include these families.”

Representatives of Settlement and Immigration Services from Kelowna Community Resources and the Kelowna Islamic Centre were on hand Saturday, talking with volunteers.

“It is very heartwarming to see how many different organizations have come up to offer their support,” said Khalid Arriani, president of the Islamic Centre.

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