A group of 78 Afghan refugees will be arriving in Peterborough on Friday, according to officials with the New Canadians Centre in the city.
The organization which supports immigrants and refugees adjusting to life in Canada, said Thursday the 78 are part of a group of 2,000 emergency arrivals to Toronto and are under the care of settlement agency COSTI. Thousands of Afghans are fleeing the country after the Taliban regained control of the country in August.
Many Afghan women have gone into hiding due to the Taliban’s history of treating them as property or second-class citizens, physically punishing them in public and forcing them into unwanted marriages.
“Many families want to stay in the Toronto area to be close to family and friends,” said Andy Cragg, New Canadians Centre executive director. “COSTI has, therefore, taken on a huge responsibility for resettlement. Yesterday, we were asked to support the resettlement of a group of 78 Afghans.”
Cragg said it’s expected many of the refugees will stay in Peterborough for approximately four to eight weeks but will want to live in the Toronto area permanently.
“But while they are with us, we will provide them with temporary housing, help them meet their basic needs, deliver basic orientations to life in Canada, and help them find permanent accommodations,” he said.
Cragg says the NCC is seeking support from residents to support the refugees including dropping off hand-made cards and drawings to welcome them. Cards can be dropped off at the NCC’s mailbox outside their building at 221 Romaine St.
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Other items are not to be dropped off at this time due to capacity issues, he noted.
“Be a welcoming and inclusive community member,” he said.
“Arriving in a new community having fled war and crisis can be extremely stressful.
“Being friendly and welcoming to all goes a long way to making our newest residents feel good as they get to know their new community, make friends and start over in a new country.”
The NCC is also encouraging landlords and property managers to provide affordable and safe housing.
Volunteers are also needed for the NCCs resettlement efforts and recruitment efforts are underway, Cragg noted.
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