Syrian refugee Hanadi Shelleh confers with co-sponsor Emily Hull as they fill out forms for the Shelleh chldren’s schooling at a table in the Shelleh’s apartment. Shelleh and her family arrived in Victoria in 2015. Victoria News file photo

Celebrate the resiliance of refugees this weekend

A number of World Refugee Day activities take place this weekend and on Tuesday, June 20.

Community groups will be celebrating refugees living across Greater Victoria over the weekend and into next week.

As part of the fifth annual celebration of World Refugee Day, the Greater Victoria Public Library’s Central Branch is hosting a free family-friendly event to provide an opportunity to welcome refugees and allow residents to get to know their new neighbours.

“World Refugee Day is a chance to honour the strength and courage of these individuals and families, to recognize the great contributions they make in the communities where they are resettled, and to stand in solidarity with them as neighbours, friends, and fellow Canadians,”said Robin Stevenson, a Victoria resident who has sponsored refugees.

The event includes button making, giant chess, a selfie space, and knitting, as well as a workshop on We Speak Translate, an app that aims to get residents in the capital region using the Google Translate App to communicate with refugees and newcomers who can’t speak English.

Other events include throughout the week include:

– A flag raising at City Hall on Tuesday, June 20 from noon to 1 p.m.

– In the Footsteps of Our Immigrants: an interactive theatre performance in partnerhip with the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society and the applied theatre department at UVic from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall (1 Centennial Sq.)

– A Refugee Family’s Journey at the library’s Saanich Centennial Branch (3110 Tillicum Rd.) Join author Margriet Ruurs and translate Falah Raheem for a conversation about their children’s book, Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey.

– Warhoused Documentary screening and panel discussion from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cincenta, University of Victoria.

The event is organized by a number of Victoria groups, including the local steering committee for World Refugee Day and is a partnership between the library, the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, the Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society, World University Service of Canada, among others.

World Refugee Day was established by the United Nations in 2001 and it marked around the world on June 20 to highlight the resiliance of refugees.

kendra.wong@vicnews.com