Canadian Sikh Does His Part To Help People Freed From ISIS Control As Part Of International Sikh Effort With Khalsa Aid

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Boota Singh from Victoria decided to travel overseas to help people recover from the hardships they now face. Singh is in the northern part of Iraq for one week in Erbil, with the international humanitarian group Khalsa Aid.

VICTORIA – A Canadian Sikh is doing his part to help Iraqis freed from ISIS control as part of a broader effort Sikh international effort through Khalsa Aid.

Boota Singh from Victoria decided to travel overseas to help people recover from the hardships they now face.

Singh is in the northern part of Iraq for one week in Erbil, with the international humanitarian group Khalsa Aid.

The organization says Singh is visiting recently freed villages which were devastated under ISIS control. He will help provide essential supplies to refugee camps, as well as meet with the Yezidis recently escaped or freed from ISIS-controlled areas.

“Its a place we have been going to since 2014,” said Jindi Singh, Victoria’s representative for Khalsa Aid Canada. “Boota is there with our CEO from the U.K. … we usually operate in the Kurd controlled areas of Iraq, they are a lot safer.”

Singh says unlike other aid groups, they usually choose to send individuals in to help those on the ground, versus sending supplies.

“We try not to send things across international borders, just because that has a lot of issues and delays,” he said.  “We try to go into the area and help the local economy, and purchase whatever needed and wherever we feel there is a gap we will try to fill that as best as possible

“These people have been really living as slaves, and this is an attempt to empower themselves,” Jindi added.

Boota Singh pictured in Iraq on his trip with Khalsa Aid (Photo: Khalsa Aid)Boota Singh pictured in Iraq on his trip with Khalsa Aid (Photo: Khalsa Aid)

The non-profit international aid and relief organization was founded in 1999 in the U.K. and their canadian chapter, with its headquarters in Victoria, also has done work supporting local areas.

The organization says it was founded on the Sikh principles, and is greatly supported by the Sikh community — mainly with donations.

In June Khalsa Aid Canada organized a food drop, where they would visit local food banks and would find out what was needed. They would then purchase and donate the food items.

“They have a higher demand in the summer…. for families at risk, the kids come home [in the summer],” he said.

In Victoria, they worked with the Rainbow Kitchen.

Each of the 17 groups across Canada who participated had a budget of around $500, in total the organization spent around $10,000 on the event.

The group has been working in Iraq since 2014, and also has aid missions in Haiti, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Zambia.