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Castlegar Refugee Project to host International Culture Festival

Castlegar Source
By Castlegar Source
December 22nd, 2015

Castlegar has a new event being staged on Family Day called the International Culture Day, a fundraiser supporting the Castlegar Refugee Project.

Slated for Feb. 8 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the Complex, International Culture Day will give area residents of all backgrounds and traditions an opportunity to showcase their cultures through displays, dancing, music, food, ethnic clothing and crafts – virtually any medium that highlights their background, according to Julie Leffelaar.

“We’re hoping to see any and all cultures represented, from European to First Nations to African to Middle Eastern and more,” she said. Leffelaar is a committee member for the Castlegar Refugee Project, which is hosting the event to raise both funds and awareness.

“The newly-formed Castlegar Refugee Project has been working with service agencies, churches, community groups, institutions and individuals in Castlegar, to create a welcoming, supportive environment for a refugee family from the Middle East,” Leffelaar said. “With the help of the Anglican Church of Canada and the federal government, we hope to be able to sponsor a family to come to Castlegar within a year.”

She said the committee is not a response to the Syrian refugee crisis, but rather has been discussed for years (in fact, a similar committee brought a refugee family from Vietnam to Castlegar decades ago), and the hope is, the committee will work for decades to come, helping refugees from all over the world.

“The project is ready to do presentations in the community on topics such as the background to the Middle East conflict, the life of refugee families under armed conflict, how refugees who come to Canada are screened, and how refugees are assisted in settling into their new life in Canada,” she said. “In mid-January the Castlegar Public Library will display their collection of books on these topics together with audio/visuals.

“In January a number of Castlegar businesses are giving the group space to display book marks inscribed with the phrase, ‘Love and Mercy’ in Arabic and English lettering. They will be sold by donation with money raised going to the Castlegar Refugee Project.”

The International Culture Festival will be the committee’s first major fundraising event.

“We are looking for people from different ethnic backgrounds to assist with this event,” she said. “All funds raised at this event will go directly to support the refugee family when it arrives.”

 For more information or to get involved, contact Julie Leffelaar jdleffelaar@yahoo.ca , or 250-365-5442.

 

 

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