Last week the Star began a series of stories about eight families who have come to Nelson and Kaslo as refugees over the past 20 years. But those stories will run in our print edition only.
We won’t be running them on our website or on the e-edition because, even in the case of some of the families who have been in Canada for more than a decade, many are still afraid their governments will see the articles and retaliate, perhaps by not allowing them into their home countries to visit, or worse, by targeting them in Canada or their relatives at home.
In one case, the refugees have asked that we not use their photograph, their last names, their country of origin, or the language they speak, even in the print edition. We found this to be a stark testament to the reasons people are refugees in the first place: the danger they faced at home is so severe that it extends across oceans and through time.
The first of these refugee stories was published in Friday’s print edition. The rest will appear periodically throughout the next couple of months.
The stories will cover the reasons the refugees had to leave their own countries, what that departure was like, and their first impressions of Canada and Nelson.
They will talk about what it took to adjust to life here. We’ll ask them what was most surprising or puzzling, what they liked, and what was challenging. They will describe how they were welcomed and supported in Nelson. They will also talk about their life after getting adjusted – for many this has meant moving out of the area, mostly to big cities.
In our first refugee profile last week, we asked a former refugee what she would like to say to the people of Nelson.
“Nelson should just keep doing what it is doing, helping people, bringing them here,” she said. “They learn to adjust, and they contribute to the economy of this country. I came with my children and husband and here I am, and now two of them have kids. Nelson is not just touching one generation but so many more to come, and it is a great thing. Carry on helping people to stand on their feet.”