Saamis Immigration teaching public about refugee experience

By Hayley Ferguson
May 28, 2019 - 2:16pm Updated: May 28, 2019 - 7:19pm


Medicine Hat, AB - For over 30 years Saamis Immigration has welcomed people into our community.

Over the last number of them, they have been welcoming more and more refugees.

On Thursday they will be hosting “Passages” - an interactive training program which was designed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to teach people about the refugee experience.

Elizabeth Thomson, the community connections coordinator, says that they decided to host the event because they have seen a rise of anti-immigration sentiment within the community.

“Partially because there is so much misinformation. Now a days with social media there’s so many things people are saying and sharing that are completely false.” Thomson said “If people did a little bit of digging they would be able to find the information. But this training opportunity lets people learn it in an easy environment.”

In 2018, the government-funded non-profit organization helped almost 80 refugees in town.

The training program is a role playing game that will be able to give people a small glance into what refugees have to go through to come to Canada.

“Basically the participants are grouped into families. And then the families are going to go through everything from leaving their home, setting up a camp, trying to get resources, trying to cross a boarder, and communicating with people who don’t speak their language.”

Thomson is hopeful that this will this experience will allow people to be more emphatic to refugees.

“It’s not easy, it’s difficult. Hard decisions are made by these people so we should be welcoming to them when they come because they’ve gone through hardship and they are now in a safe place.”

The event will be on May 30 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Fifth Avenue United Church and open to anybody. The cost is $10.

There are still a limited number of spots open. To register, contact Elizabeth Thompson at 403-504-1188 ext. 112,, or visit the office at 659 Third St. SE.


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