HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt and Area Refugee Coalition is raising money to sponsor a family from Iran.
On June 20, the coalition struck up funds and awareness for World Refugee Day with a United Nations flag raising at city hall, and a barbecue and concert at St. Andrew's Anglican Church.
The family is currently living as refugees in Indonesia, said coalition volunteer member Sheena Ingram.
The coalition’s sponsorship of the family is “very much in the first stages,” Ingram said, but coalition member Matteo Carboni said hope they will “be able to help this family get to Canada.”
Although the subject of refugee sponsorship has “been conflated with a lot of other political hot points,” Ingram said the people of Humboldt should know that “the type of refugees that we’re interested in bringing over are just people like them, whose government has declared war on their own country.”
“These are people fleeing terrible circumstances and trying to have a better life. I am not so naive to think that I could never be a victim of those circumstances,” Ingram said, adding that she hoped another country would help her and her family if they were ever in the situation faced by the families they are sponsoring.
Carboni said he is descended from immigrants – his grandfather had left Italy for Canada following the Second World War.
“Canada's provided my family with a home,” he said. “And I'd like to be able to help other people who are in really rough situations, to provide them with a safe place to live and raise their kids in Canada.”
Humboldt “is a wonderful community, and we have a lot to offer people,” he said.
“If we can provide people around the world who are in desperate need of help a place a refuge, I think that would be one of the best gifts we could give.”
The family from Iran is the second HARC has sponsored. Each are assigned by and undergo a vetting process through the United Nations Commission for Refugees.