I have a new hobby in between writing young-adult books and doing school presentations: helping refugees adapt to life in their new country.

I’m on a steering committee* that is fundraising to provide English as a Second Language classes to newly arrived Syrian refugees. That’s because the government has paid their way to come to Canada, and provides food, housing and trauma counseling, plus a very short period of ESL training. But only 1% come with any ability to speak English, and according to their caseworker, they need a full year of ESL classes in order to look for work or more easily integrate into their new community.

Want to help them out with me? Contributions of over $25 are tax deductible if you are Canadian, and 100% of all funds will go to ESL classes for recently landed refugees in Victoria, B.C., Canada. (There are around 200 recently landed refugees there waiting for classes. The classrooms and teachers are ready as soon as funds come in. It costs $20,000 to fund a year of classes for 20 refugees.)

Please send whatever you can!

Make cheques payable to St. Mary Magdalene Church with “refugees” noted in the lower left line.
Mail to St. Mary Magdalene Church, 360 Georgina Point Rd., Mayne Island B.C., Canada V0N 2J1.  

Oh, and if you care about refugees, or like to read survival stories (this is the penultimate survival story, both sobering and riveting), here’s a life-changing book I just read:

They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan by Benjamin Ajak, Benson Deng, Alephonsian Deng and Judy A. Bernstein.


*The Mayne Island Refugee Support Group is supporting Victoria‘s Immigrant Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS).