Marking World Refugee Day on June 20, local supporters are screening two films on the Burma refugee situation to help people understand and connect with a family coming to Qualicum Beach.
The Qualicum Refugee Sponsorship Group is helping bring a family of eight Karen refugees from Burma, also known as Myanmar, to begin a new life in a house owned by the Town of Qualicum Beach and has a number of initiatives in the works to assist.
The first of the acclaimed documentaries is a 21 minute film that aired on CBC in 2006 called Karen Refugees: Fleeing Burma’s Forgotten War (icarusfilms.com/fanlight/kar.html) looking at the situation in Myanmar and Thailand through the eyes of ‘backpack medics’ and following one Karen woman and her family travelling from Thailand to North America.
The second is the one hour, 24 minute Moving to Mars: a Million Miles from Burma, from 2009.
It follows two refugee families as they are forced from their homeland to refugee camps in Thailand and then to the rough adjustment to life in England.
“A resettlement scheme offers them the chance of a new life; but their new home, in the British city of Sheffield, will be different to everything they’ve ever known,” according to the film’s website (www.movingtomarsfilm.com).
The award winning films will be followed by an informal discussion and refreshments.
Everyone is invited to the free evening, Monday, June 20 from 7-9 p.m. at St. Mark’s Anglican Church on Memorial in Qualicum Beach.
Meanwhile watch The NEWS for more on the efforts of some local students to gather bicycles for the family.
For more information or to get involved with the QRSG effort, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-974-7031.
There are currently at least 16 private sponsorship efforts in the mid-Island, including two others in Parksville Qualicum Beach. One through the Church of the Ascension Refugee Sponsorship Committee (250-954-1991) in Parksville, and one through the Qualicum Community Baptist Church (250-752-9123) which is now hosting two refugees from east Africa.