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Goal is set by group to sponsor refugee family in Golden

GOFR has already held one screening of the movie Salam Neighbour to show people what it’s like for families living in refugee camps. They plan to host another screening sometime in March. - Photo Submitted
GOFR has already held one screening of the movie Salam Neighbour to show people what it’s like for families living in refugee camps. They plan to host another screening sometime in March.
— image credit: Photo Submitted

The Golden Opportunities for Refugees group (affectionately known as GOFRs), is making progress on their goal to bring a refugee family here to Golden.

For more than a year the group has been trying to figure out how they can do their part in what is the biggest humanitarian crisis of this nature since the Second World War. There are more than 19 million refugees and 60 million displaced people in the world right now, and GOFR thinks if they can help just one family, it will all be worth it.

"We all know the power of our small town," said GOFR Karen Archibald.

After exploring their options, the group decided the best way for them to help would be to privately sponsor and settle a family right here in Golden. "Other towns like ours have done this, we know it's doable."

Studies have shown that refugees who come through organized committees like GOFR do better, as there are resources on the ground to help them, as opposed to government sponsored refugees who are given money, and little else.

"This is no small commitment. We will be supporting this family for 12 months," said Archibald. "We do need help."

For a family of four the government requires a $35,000 commitment to ensure the family will be looked after for a year if they can't find employment right away. GOFR has set their goal at $40,000.

"Time is of the essence for these people," said Archibald. They hope to have the funds raised by the fall. Once the money is raised they can work on a settlement plan, which will include all the resources the family needs once they land.

"We know there will be difficult things about this journey," she added. “Some refugees have spent their entire lives in refugee camps, and have a very difficult time adjusting to life here.”

The group has already looked at possible families to come to Golden, and know that with limited resources in a small town there are certain families who may not be successful here. Golden will most likely be sponsoring a Syrian family, but since the process could take up to a year and a half, it will depend on who is in need, and who the Canadian government is most receptive to.

GOFR has already raised more than $11,000, and are working on initiatives to raise the rest. And the more people who get involved, they say, the better.

"We've received an amazing response so far," said Michele Rowe, another member of GOFR. "The more people who get involved at this stage, the more we as a community will feel a sense of ownership over it."

To learn more about what GOFR is doing, or how you can help (residents or businesses may be able to help with non-monetary services or donations), you can contact them at gofr.group@gmail.com.

The group also plans to host another screening of the documentary Salam Neighbour, depicting life in a Syrian refugee camp, in March.

 

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