Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) B.C., along with other local organizations, celebrated World Refugee Day at Mill Lake Park in Abbotsford on June 22. Over 200 people, some newcomers to Canada as well as refugee sponsors and community members, came to enjoy and live out this year’s theme “Choose Welcome.”
Sada Birsa Gaurav Bhangra Club and Congolese kids showcased their dance talents and kicked off the celebration with crowd participation. Attendees heard personal stories from the Quach/Luu family from Vietnam and Rami Yaqu from Iraq. Both told stories of resilience, perseverance and gratitude to MCC as they started their lives in Canada.
The celebration concluded with a cake-cutting by Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, MCC B.C.’s executive director Wayne Bremner, and MCC B.C.’s refugee sponsorship coordinator Jennifer Mpungu—all in celebration of the 40-year anniversary of MCC’s private refugee sponsorship agreement. Between 1979 and July 1, 2018, approximately 12,000 people arrived in Canada through MCC’s private refugee sponsorship program. In 2018 alone, 715 refugees came to Canada through this program.
Crowd participation was part of the dance presentations at the World Refugee Day event held in Abbotsford on June 22. (MCC B.C. photo)
The Quach/Luu family attended the World Refugee Day celebration held June 22 in Abbotsford B.C. Huu Quach came to Canada with his mother as the first government-sponsored refugee to the area in 1979. (MCC B.C. photo)
The anniversary cake was cut by Henry Braun, Abbotsford mayor; Wayne Bremner, MCC B.C. executive director; and Jennifer Mpungu, MCC B.C. refugee sponsorship coordinator. (MCC B.C. photo)