The people of Oakville are coming together to help Afghani refugees to a better life. An example is the neighbourhood group, headed by Vanessa Barr which has formed a partnership with Maple Grove United Church to bring a Hazara refugee family to Oakville.
The Hazaras are an Afghani refugee group that has been subjected to extreme violence and prejudice and are prioritized by the Canadian government for immigration to Canada.
Vanessa is no stranger to refugee work, having as a child watched her aunt’s efforts to settle a Vietnamese family in Canada. She also led the group when it brought a Syrian family to Oakville and successfully settled them here five years ago. After reading the staggering stories about the Afghanistan situation in the media Vanessa decided to use the tools she had developed in her past experience to change a family’s lives for the better once again.
Reading about the plans of Maple Grove United she contacted the Chair of the Outreach Committee, Hugh Wanless, and offered her assistance.
Since then, Vanessa has successfully raised a large amount of money to bring the family in and has developed the settlement plan for the family. The copious paperwork completed over the Christmas holidays has been submitted to the Refugee Coordinator of the United Church of Canada, who has placed the family on a priority list. Vanessa is excited about the challenges ahead and hopes that her previous experience will serve her well. She is most happy about the way she has seen refugee children take full advantage of the opportunities they have in Canada and hopes that the children of this family will do the same.