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Vancouver-Surrey Sikh Community Puts Out Welcome Mat And Support For Syrian Refugees

Services like free tuition for 1,000 students at Khalsa School for one year, free meals, clothing and blankets for 2,000 refugees from many gurdwaras, transportation and medical services are being offered to the refugees. “The Sikh community themselves have come to Canada in many different ways from the early 1900s and onwards,” said newly elected Surrey-Centre Liberal MP Randeep Sarai. “Welcoming others, newcomers, was part of their life, whether they (Canadian people) knew them or not.”

SURREY – The lower mainland Sikh community in Vancouver came together to offer services to support the Syrian refugees who are expected to arrive in the area over the next few months.

The Sikhs in Lower Mainland offered help with housing, schooling, food and clothing to the Syrian refugees coming to Canada, CBC News reported on Monday.

“The Sikh community themselves have come to Canada in many different ways from the early 1900s and onwards,” said Randeep Sarai, Surrey Centre MP.

“Welcoming others, newcomers, was part of their life, whether they (Canadian people) knew them or not. Whether immigrants came from India, or whether they were refugees in tumultuous times during the ’80s, the Sikh way, the Canadian way, was always to give them a home, help them at the temple and help feed them,” he said.

Over the weekend Sarai facilitated a forum of Sikh organizations which had all expressed a desire to answer the Canadian government’s call for help in resettling the refugees.

Some Sikh organisations expressed a desire to help in resettling the refugees.

Services like free tuition for 1,000 students at Khalsa School for one year, free meals, clothing and blankets for 2,000 refugees from many gurdwaras in Vancouver, Richmond, New Westminster, Abbotsford and Surrey, transportation and medical services would be offered to the refugees.

The Khalsa School in Surrey has extended its help to educate the children of Syrian refugees.

“We even have several teachers who speak Arabic, and we will do whatever we can to help the new students feel welcome,” Kamalpreet Bagga, the school principal, said.

The group that met over the weekend has adopted the name Sikh Societies of British Columbia, and says the value of donations being offered is as high as $5 million.

“The community was grateful to take upon this challenge while being mindful of the fact that there might be some cultural and language barriers,” the group said in a statement.

“Other community organizations are invited to join this cause as it affects our community as a whole and not just the Sikh community.”

In addition, they will carry out a provincial wide campaign to find free housing for the refugees. They expect they can accommodate at least 200 families.

Officials estimate around 2,500 refugees could land in the region within the next few weeks, as part of the federal government plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the new year.

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