During this Afghan crisis, it’s good to know that people are responding.
James Grunau and John Dyck, two of the founders of Journey Home Community walked 30 kilometres from the Peace Arch border to Journey Home’s Welcome Houses in New Westminster.
They aimed to raise $16,000, $1,000 for each of the years that Journey Home has been in existence.
Dyck shares: “The issue for refugee claimant families was that many of these families were ending up in a hotel or shelter, then have no place to go, ending up on the street. One of our first families was a family from Afghanistan. A husband and wife and their two little boys. At that time, we had never met anyone from Afghanistan. She had been ostracized for marrying him and they had to flee. They arrived in Vancouver via a trafficker, who left the family on the streets of Vancouver. We welcomed them in and the transformation for that mother was amazing, just welcoming and supporting her seemed to make all the difference in who she has become.”
The recent Afghan crisis during the takeover of the Taliban hit the Journey Home members, staff and volunteers hard.
“I get emotional even thinking about it,” Dyck said. “If we did not have friends from Afghanistan, we could have watched the news and not felt so devastated. Once you know people here who have families at risk and in hiding, it is very personal. The people we help through Journey Home are not just people we help — it is a two-way street. We share life with them and their children. The need right now is heartbreaking and profound.
“The staff and volunteers have taken on direct advocacy for families at high risk, through the support of an MP and the federal government. Mid-election has been a tough time to do this. But with the staff and through the efforts of Afghan community volunteers, they have advocated for dozens of families. We hope and pray to see at least some of their family members arrive here to safety.”