Tibet immigrants make long journey to Greater Victoria

The first of 50 displaced Tibetans will arrive at Victoria International Airport tomorrow night

The first of 50 displaced Tibetans will arrive at Victoria International Airport tomorrow night to start new lives, but advocates are struggling to find enough local sponsors to meet demand.

The group is part of 1,000 Tibetans authorized to settle in Canada from Arunachal Pradesh, a remote area of Northeast India, after a direct appeal from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“We don’t have any government funds, so this is really based on how much money we can raise and sponsors we can find,”  said Tsering Dolma, treasurer with the Project Tibet Society, which is co-ordinating the immigration effort.

Canadian immigration laws require new immigrants to seek out a Canadian citizen or permanent resident as a sponsor. The sponsor is responsible for that person’s well-being for a period of up to a year upon arrival.

In 2010, Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney committed to welcoming 1,000 displaced Tibetans to Canada over a five-year period.

“We’re trying to get about 50 Tibetans on the Island,” Dolma said. “Tibetans in exile have never had any status in India. They’re stateless – especially the people coming from this Arunachal Pradesh, there are no opportunities up there.”

The first wave of Tibetans will arrive over the next six months in Ontario and B.C., including five people in Greater Victoria. The first two people arrive at Victoria International Airport on Saturday night, while three others plan to arrive in January and February.

Dolma said she’s excited to welcome new members to the Tibetan community in Greater Victoria, which she pegs at only about 20 people.

“We’re a very small community, but we’re a strong group,” she said.

The society is working with the Anglican Diocese of B.C. and Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria to sort out necessary paperwork and find potential sponsors. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or learning more about the project can visit projecttibetsociety.ca or call 778-440-4683.

•••

Tibet 101

With an average elevation of 4,900 metres, Tibet is the highest plateau region on Earth. The contested region, part of western China, has been led in exile since 1950 by the Dalai Lama in India. An estimated 69,000 Tibetans have fled the region since 1987 to settlements in mostly India and Nepal. Tibetans have always asserted their independence from China.

 

Just Posted

VicPD help Esquimalt businesses avoid becoming victims of crime

Townhall meeting teaches businesses about safety and prevention

Shoreline Middle School students pitch in to clean school trail

Needles and bags of garbage picked up over six-week period on View Royal trail

Peninsula skater scores personal best speeds to earn spot on Team BC

Kieran Brown heads for the Western Canadian Championships March 22 and 23

Man enters unlocked Saanich home with knife, sexually assaults 22-year-old

Investigation ongoing after woman sexually assaulted in Gordon Head early Sunday morning

Still making a good impression: Andre-Philippe Gagnon and his cast of thousands take over Sidney

French-Canadian vocal impressionist first hit it big mimicking every singer from ‘We Are the World’

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you consider living in a tiny home?

Victoria is the latest Capital Region community to take a look at… Continue reading

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients could drop by 31%: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Gunman kills 3 on Dutch tram; mayor says terror likely

Utrecht police release photo of 37-year-old man born in Turkey who is ‘associated with the incident’

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Most Read