West Kootenay Friends of Refugees recently welcomed a donation of $3,000 thanks to the generosity of group member Ivy Miller and Rossland Gallery owner Fletcher Quince.
It all happened after Miller donated an impressive painting by Nelson artist Tyler Toews, of Canadian Murals.
Fletcher agreed to display and sell Toews piece, waiving his usual commission.
Less than 30 minutes after the Toews painting was mounted to the studio wall, it was sold to an anonymous buyer from another town who just happened to walk into the gallery at the right moment.
West Kootenay Friends of Refugees, formed in 2011, is a group of local citizens based in Rossland. They have wide representation from the community and surrounding towns, all of whom share the common goal of sponsoring refugees to Canada.
West Kootenay Friends of Refugees currently has a sponsorship application under review for a person first held on Manus Island, off the Australian coast. He is now in “MITA,” an immigration detention centre in the Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows.
After eight years he is eager to find a welcoming community where he can begin again.
As well, the group has offered to accept an individual, couple or family from Afghanistan as part of the government’s intention to sponsor 40,000 Afghans who have connections to Canada and would like to come to this country.
Details of the various programs are still being worked out.
The latest figures from the United Nations are sobering.
At least 82.4 million people around the world have been forced to flee their homes. Among them are nearly 26.4 million refugees, unable to return to their countries of origin, around half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and have been denied access to basic rights such as education, health care, employment and freedom of movement.
Efforts by West Kootenay Friends of Refugees may not make much of an impact on the millions, but they can help a few.
Tax receipts are issued for donations over $20. Send eTransfers to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail cheques to Box 652 Rossland V0G1Y0.