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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.

Burma Awareness Ride

Selkirk College Peace Studies presentation

EKFOB Recognized Nationally




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, Comox Valley, 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: Our Calgary group is extremely frustrated waiting over four years now for a single Mother and children originally from South Sudan. Sadly, this vulnerable family continues to live in great danger while waiting for "processing" by our visa offices. We remain hopeful that they will arrive in 2021, despite the hurdles they face with our refugee sponsorship system. We are also awaiting two families originally from Afghanistan. It is tough to explain to the families here awaiting the arrival of their loved ones, why this sponsorship process takes so long.

On a happier note, our Calgary group has welcomed three families originally from Eritrea over the past three years. Each of these successful sponsorships united siblings and children who had been separated for years. The joy of seeing these families reunited is immense! We thank everyone who has donated and helped with these sponsorships.

Comox Valley: We had four new comers in late 2019: two arrived from Sudan and two from Egypt. The four young refugees, originally from Eritrea have been well supported and doing well. All of them found jobs in retail soon after their arrival and have been working hard to save up and go to school. They have high hopes and plans to upgrade their high school credentials and go to university.

Socializing and getting connected has been a challenge due to the pandemic, but they love the small town living here on Vancouver Island and have been enjoying the outdoor activities it has to offer. Fund raising has also been a huge challenge since last year but we are trying to be creative. We have applications for two single individuals and a family of three. It is our hope that the federal government allocates sufficient resources to clear the backlog in the processing of sponsorship applications.

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.

East Kootenay: The East Kootenay branch continues to support a number of Karen families resettled to Kimberley and Creston BC. Our summer therapy program for former refugee youth with special needs is up and running again with children and youth enjoying a variety of recreational and social programs together.

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: In August 2019, we welcomed 2 young men from the Caricom (Caribbean Community), one of whom is Jamaican and the other Trinidadian. They both had jobs within a few months and are contributing members of our community. However, it will be a happy day - and still far off - when they are licensed to continue their careers as a teacher and a nurse. We are now working with Ads-Up Canada to sponsor a couple or a family who have been waiting for years on Nauru. Two of our sponsored (former) refugees are now proud Canadian citizens.

Vancouver: The Vancouver branch welcomed a young Eritrean fellow on Halloween night of 2017. He is now completing his grade 12 and hoping to begin University classes this fall. We are also awaiting the arrival of another Eritrean fellow presently living in Khartoum, Sudan.