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Refugee Set For New Life

EKFOR newest sponsored refugee arrives in Cranbrook. Read more.

West Kootenay Friends of Refugees

Read about the San-Latt family in Rossland.

East Kootenay / West Kootenay friends Video...




Thank you for visiting the web site of
East Kootenay Friends of Refugees Society.

The East Kootenay Friends of Refugees Society is a registered charity, registered society, and a Sponsorship Agreement Holder group (which means we have an agreement with the Federal government allowing us to privately sponsor refugees).

We have been sponsoring refugees to western Canada for 30 years. We are 100% volunteers and use all funds collected for the sponsorship of refugees to Canada. We are financially responsible for the refugees.

We specialize in recreational therapeutic support for refugees with backgrounds of severe trauma, and refugee youth with physical disabilities. For more information regarding this innovative program, please contact Shauna Jimenez at Shauna@EastKootenayFriendsOfRefugees.org.

We have branches in Calgary, Cranbrook, Creston, Edmonton, Fernie, Kimberley, and Rossland. Only our Kimberley / Cranbrook branch has the recreational therapy program.

Who we sponsor: Refugees, (as identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as people forced to flee their country by persecution) from Burma (Myanmar as the dictatorship calls it), Eritrea, Colombia, Liberia, and South Sudan. Sadly, for 2017 the Canadian federal government allows us to only sponsor eight refugees.

How to donate: Donations to this charity are tax deductible. We are currently supporting many refugees from Liberia, South Sudan, Eritrea, Burma, and Syria and could really use your help with funding for these wonderful folks.

The easiest way to donate is by credit card through CanadaHelps.org. You will immediately receive a tax receipt. Note that you will have the choice of Calgary, Rossland, and General. The Calgary branch currently has the greatest financial need.

You can also can send a cheque to East Kootenay Friends of Refugees Society, #27, 2124-30 Ave. South, Cranbrook, BC, V1C 7A4. A charitable tax receipt will be sent.

We are registered with Benevity. If your workplace uses this service, you can give there and your employer will match the donation.

You can make a donation to Calgary refugees by sending an Interac e-Transfer to Quentin.

Branch Updates

Calgary: We are awaiting a family of 6 Karen refugees who have endured 20 years in a refugee camp on the Thai Burma border and a family of 6 Eritreans who are living in a very dangerous situation in South Sudan. Most likely the Karen family will arrive prior to the Eritrean family. We need donations (tax deductible) to help support these folks for their first year in Canada.

We were thrilled to welcome 3 young Karen refugee women In the fall of 2016 after spending 15 years in a Thai refugee camp. They are settling into Canada nicely, attending English classes as well as working part time. They enjoyed a day in the mountains, outdoor skating at Zoolights, and a smorgasbord of "Canadian food" at the food court at the mall, where they sampled a number of foreign cuisines which stretched their ideas of what good food is.

These young women will be a great help settling the family of 6 Karens we are expecting to arrive in 2017, but there is always a need for more resettlement help and, of course, for financial donations. Any new donations will go directly to funding the family during their first year in Canada. Please donate through the Canadahelps.org site and choose the Calgary option to help support this refugee family. If you would like to volunteer to help with settlement and orientation for this family, please contact Quentin.

Cranbrook: Cranbrook group is pleased to announce that a young Eritrean refugee will be able to join his brother here. The wait for this was six years. The long waits for refugees from Africa is frustrating and wreaks of racism in refugee policy.

Our Cranbrook Branch has sponsored a Syrian family of 4, who are enjoying life in Cranbrook BC. This group now plans to sponsor other family members to reunite with this Syrian family.

Creston: The Creston Refugee Committee has heard that the brother of our Karen family, along with his family of 7, will be arriving January 16th. HOORAY!!!! This is another Burmese Karen family who has lived in a camp in Thailand for 16 years.

We are also looking forward to the return of the Burmese Kechin family of 6 who tried living in Toronto, after spending their first year with us here in Creston. They have decided that a small loving community is a much better place to raise a family.

We were able to find houses to rent for both of these families another HOORAY!!!! We still have not had a word from Immigration Canada on our application for the Syrian family of six that have been in a camp in Iraq for over three years.

Our committee has had a busy eight months of fundraising, we had two pie bees (rhubarb in the spring and apple in the fall), a garage sale, and a Middle East dinner. We are now selling Christmas CDs by Ron Klusmeier, they were donated by Ron to Trinity United Church to help with the recovery from their fire. The CDs cost $15 and $5 from each sale goes to the Refugee Committee.

Fernie: Our Fernie Branch sponsored a single Mom with nine dependents from Liberia, who are now settling into Fernie, thanks to this amazing group of volunteers. They also still support the single Mom with one child from Uganda, and the single man from Eritrea, all arrived within the past couple of years, and all working to help support themselves in Fernie, BC.

Kimberley: Our Kimberley group still supports the four Karen families from Burma that we have sponsored over the past few years. We also do a summer therapeutic recreational program for former refugee children and youth at Wasa Lake, BC.

Rossland: Rossland group is thrilled to announce the arrival of the Syrian family in November.

Rossland branch has sponsored a single Mom with two children from Eritrea, and a small family of three who are ethnic Chin, from Burma. They also helped a group from Fruitvale sponsor a Syrian family. All are doing very well and keeping these volunteers very busy.


Rahaf Zwayne, a young Syrian woman, arrived on May 2016 - privately sponsored by a local couple with the help of our group. She is currently attending Selkirk College with her education for this year paid for by a bursary provided by the faculty. She hopes to some day sponsor her father and brother who are still in Turkey.


Aung Ko Ko Latt and Lun Lun San, a Burmese couple arrived, from Malaysia with their young son Samuel in December, 2013. In March of 2014 they welcomed Michael David to the family. They have been attending ESL classes and AKK now works two jobs to support his family. This year Samuel started kindergarten and David attends Strong Start with his mom. She has been doing part time work housecleaning and cutting children’s hair.

Ruta Zakarias, an Eritrean mother of two young sons, Yonathan and Eyobed, arrived from Cairo in August 2015. She is hoping that her husband will be able to join the family under the One Year Window sometime soon. The boys are now in kindergarten and grade one, while Ruta is attending school to upgrade her education and is also studying English, first aid and has gotten her Food Safe certificate. The photo is in the Rossland ESL class she attends with AKK and LLS.