New arrivals feeling welcome in Sackville
STAFF REPORTER Ngoma, a district of Rwanda. But soon after arriving there, their mother was poisoned (an act they believe to have also been committed by militants). Scared to stay there and be killed themselves, they snuck out of Ngoma in the middle of the night, travelling into the woods to get away. Later coming across a woodsman, they asked him for a ride and he drove them as far as Nairobi before dropping them off. When the two began asking around about the UNCHR, they drew attention to themselves and were arrested and spent two days in jail. After being released, they were taken to the UN offices and were told they could go to the Kakuma Refugee Camp. A bus was arranged to take them there and they have been there ever since. Jafari was 15 at the time and Kintu was 17. Jafari met Mwaliasha in 2012, when she arrived at Kakuma.
The family says they found out almost three years ago they were approved for resettlement to Canada – so it has been a long, anxious wait. But they realize how fortunate they are; many refugees there have been waiting for more than two decades to hear news they can leave Kakuma and make a new home elsewhere.
Their move to Canada was made possible thanks to a group called the Sackville Refugee Response Coalition.
John Perkin, chair of the SRRC, said when refugees are approved for relocation into Canada, their file first goes to the central refugee office and then out to the various resettlement groups across the country, who then make the decision of matching up those individuals or families with their community.
The family, a bit unsure of what the future holds for them but thankful to be in a safe and comforting place, say they are amazed by the friendliness of the residents here, with many people stopping to chat, say hi and welcoming them to the community when they are out to events such as the Saturday morning farmers’ market. They want to thank everyone in Sackville who has made their resettlement to Canada a reality. They hope to be looking for jobs in the near future and would not rule out staying in Sackville if possible.
“Sackville is a great place, it has all the amenities you need here – the university, shops, the hospital. It’s just a great place,” says Jafari.