SPONSORING REFUGEES                                The Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group is supporting a family from the Caprivi Strip, in northeastern Namibia. The family of six is expected to arrive in Summerland in the next nine to 12 weeks.                                (Pixabay image)

SPONSORING REFUGEES The Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group is supporting a family from the Caprivi Strip, in northeastern Namibia. The family of six is expected to arrive in Summerland in the next nine to 12 weeks. (Pixabay image)

Summerland organization to sponsor refugee family from Namibia

Family of six with be fifth refugee family to come to Summerland since 2015

A refugee family from Namibia is expected to arrived in Summerland within the next nine to 12 weeks.

The family of six are being sponsored by the Summerland Refugee Support Group and will be the fourth family this group has brought to Canada over the past four years.

“Our goal has been to bring one family a year into Summerland,” said Doug Holmes, president of the group.

Namibia, a country northwest of South Africa, is one of the more stable African nations, Holmes said.

However, this family is from the Caprivi Strip, a small area in the northeastern part of the country.

Refugees have been fleeing conflicts in the area.

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Holmes said the family has four sons, aged 18, 13, 12 and three. The oldest son is of age to be conscripted into the military.

Holmes expects the transition to Canadian society will be easier for this family than for previous refugee families coming to Summerland, since the family members all speak English.

“Sponsoring a family that already speaks English will help the sponsorship group and hill make integration into our community easier,” he said.

The Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group needs a total of $25,000 for its share of the sponsorship costs.

Funding from the Shapiro Foundation has contributed $12,800 towards this goal, “but we still need to raise some money from the community,” Holmes said.

The sponsorship group already has a house and furnishings ready for the family. However, volunteers will be needed to help the family members once they arrive.

The previous refugee families sponsored by the Summerland Refugee Sponsorship Group include two from Syria and one from Eritrea, in eastern Africa.

In addition, the Summerland United Church sponsored a family from Syria in 2015.

Holmes said the community response to the previous refugee families has been good and the families have been accepted into the community.

“I think the community has been incredible,” he said. “The reception has been amazing.”

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