While I was on the construction site I noticed a group of men quietly having their lunch together on the second floor. After pleasantries I discovered they were former Myanmar refugees – now Canadian citizens.
You know where this is going – something like this – “Any chance you came to Canada as Government Assisted Refugees?”
They all responded in English, “yes”.
“Did you stay at current Welcome House when you first arrived?”
Six had – so here you have it. Construction worker like Mr. Van Lan in the bottom left hand corner of the photo, a former ISSofBC client who arrived in Vancouver in Sept 2007 after spending three years as a refugee in Malaysia, is now helping to construct the new Welcome House building for future refugees.
How cool is that. It is indeed a small world!
About the Author: Chris Friesen has been the ISSofBC Director of Settlement Services for over twenty years. He is currently leading the multi-year initiative to design and build a Metro Vancouver Regional Service Centre for Refugees. In spring 2016, this 58,000sf facility will become the first of its kind in the world, bringing together a variety of community and government services and organizations to meet the immediate needs of refugees and immigrants settling in BC. Learn more about the new Welcome House.