A group of Victoria residents have come together to sponsor a West African family of five who have lived in asylum in Hong Kong for the past 14 years since they abruptly left their native country amid political upheaval.
Local Bob Furber says he can’t divulge much about the family other than which country they lived in, and that they had to leave quickly, fearing for their lives.
“It’s a shame because they have a very poignant story to tell, one people should hear.”
In the meantime, the sponsor group has raised $41,000 of the $53,000 it needs by July, 31, enough to support the family during its first year in Canada.
To help reach that goal, Jackie Grooms of Just For You Fashion store in Victoria is holding a Spring Fashion Show Luncheon on April 6, followed by a jewelry and fashion accessories sale.
Tickets are $30 to the show and proceeds will go to bringing the refugee family to Canada.
“Just For You Fashions is proud to be part of the fundraiser to help sponsor an African refugee family coming to Victoria,” said Grooms. “In the past we have contributed to other fundraisers in this community and we are excited to be asked to be part of this important event.
“We truly hope this event will raise funds for this worthy cause.”
Initially, the West African family were evacuated to Hong Kong for their safety 14 long years ago, and though they’ve since learned English they are not permitted to work or travel. As such, the family relies on the charity of others to meet their most basic needs and they desperately wish to become self-sufficient, said Furber.
Two of the children are still without citizenship, further complicating their status.
The sponsor group partnered with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria for guidance, and as of September, the family’s application, submitted by the sponsorship group, has been acknowledged by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and also in Hong Kong.
The fashion luncheon is at noon on April 6 at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, 2121 Cedar Hill Cross Rd. Tickets are $30, available online at victoriarefugeesponsorship.org/tickets.html. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for the silent auction items. There’s also door prize tickets. The show is followed by a jewelry and fashion accessories jumble sale at 2:30 p.m.
Reserved seating for groups is available by contacting Debbie@VictoriaRefugeeSponsorship.org.