Kidnapped journalist to speak at Kelowna fundraiser

Amanda Lindhout will talk about her experience being kidnapped and held for ransom for 460 days in Somalia.

  • May. 20, 2016 12:00 p.m.

Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout will be guest speaker at a Kelowna fundraiser June 6 to assist Syrian refugee English as a Second Language program instruction.

Amanda Lindhout, a freelance Canadian journalist who was kidnapped and held for ransom for 460 days in Somalia, will speak at a refugee fundraising event in Kelowna on Monday, June 6.

Often asked to speak at events across Canada about her experience, this will be her only appearance in B.C. this year.

She has just finished kenote speaking at several fundraising and awareness events throughout Alberta in support of the Azer family, a family of four children abducted from their mother while on holidays.

The Kelowna event is being co-organized by the Central Okanagan Refugee Committee (CORC) and the West Kelowna Initiative for Refugee Settlement (WKIRS).

Funds raised from the event will be directed to a summer ESL program, with a possibility of extension into September.  While ESL programs are federally funded, but despite the increase in refugee placements throughout the Okanagan, the funding for ESL has not been increased.

As a result, there has been a huge shortage of spots for the refugees recently arrived.  Family members are having to choose which parent will receive language training, with the other doing without. The ESL program is also shut down mid June for the summer months.  This translates to three months of a year sponsorship without language training; critical time for a refugee to learn the language.

WKIRS, a West Kelowna Group of 5, has started an ESL program with two certified instructors.  Cabella’s Hair Design has donated time and space in the upstairs office area to host the students.

Gioia Morris, one of the instructors, states:  “As an immigrant to Canada who had to learn the English language upon arrival to this awesome country, I understand the absolute importance of learning first hand.  ESL is one of the greatest investments of time and resources, and the people, culture, and appreciation of this country comes alive when you can speak and comprehend the language.”

Lindhout’s message is one of hope, forgiveness, and compassion.  Her memoir, “A House in the Sky,” has been an international best-seller and has been on the Globe & Mail best sellers list for more than 100 weeks.

She will be sharing her story on Monday, June 6, 7 p.m., at Trinity Church in Kelowna, 1905 Springfield Rd. Tickets ($35) are available online at kelownatickets.com. Her memoir will be available for purchase and signing that evening, with proceeds also going to the support of the Okanagan refugee families.

Just Posted

Community Leader Awards: Anja Dumas

The Kelowna Capital News puts the spotlight on community leaders with annual awards

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Blowing snow, slippery sections on Okanagan Connector

Compact snow, poor visibility on Highway 97 from Pennask Summitt to Brenda Mines.

IH adds immunization clinic Sunday in Kelowna

Drop-in meningococcal vaccination clinic on today at Community Health & Services Centre

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Family suspends search for missing Alberta couple, plane near Revelstoke

Due to bad weather, families of missing Albertan couple say they will resume in the spring

Fire crews investigating oil sheen on Penticton Creek

Fire crews are working to contain the oil from spreading

UBCO prof tests software to help cancer patients

Program may help those reluctant to engage ‘tough conversations’ in advance care planning

Broken de-icer delays flights at Kelowna airport

Passengers were on board for three hours Sunday waiting for departure to Vancouver

Canadian grocers make $3M per year from penny-rounding: UBC study

Ottawa announced plans in 2012 to phase out the copper coin

Well-known Canadian bird making a comeback

Once on the brink of extinction, the peregrine falcon no longer considered at risk in Canada.

Suzuki: Shine a light during dark times

People need to remain positive despite difficult and unpredictable political climate

Most Read