The Comox Valley Lifelong Learning Centre and Welcoming Communities Coalition raise awareness for World Refugee Day in June through children’s stories in public parks
“Whoever, wherever, whenever: everyone has the right to seek safety.” – UNHCR
The right to seek safety no matter who and where you are is this year’s theme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) World Refugee Day. Every year on June 20, the UNHCR brings public attention to the millions of refugees and displaced people who have been forced to flee their homes due to wars, conflict and persecution.
This month, our Welcoming Communities Coalition has partnered with The Comox Valley Lifelong Learning Centre (CVLLC) to draw attention to World Refugee Day through the CVLLC’s Story Walk program. With the help of our Immigrant Advisory Table (IAT), we have chosen four children’s picture books to be featured in Story Walks (self-guided stories in nature) throughout the Comox Valley that share refugee and settlement perspectives.
The public can enjoy the following stories in our communities from June 11 to July 2, 2022:
- Salma the Syrian Chef by Danny Ramadan (former writer-in-residence in Campbell River)
- Stepping Stones by Margriet Ruurs and Nizar Ali Badr
- The Name Jar by YangSook Choi
- Wishes by Muon Thi Van and Victo Ngai
The books will be rotated through four local parks:
- Cottonwood Greenway (by Cottonwood Lane, Comox)
- Rotary Skypark (Mansfield Dr., Courtenay)
- Cousins Park (2218 Cousins Ave., Courtenay)
- No. 6 Mine Park (Derwent Ave., Cumberland)
“It’s our hope that these stories will help people of all ages think about some of the challenges people face when they are forced to leave their homes, move, and settle in a new country,” said Coalition coordinator Julie Keumbehdjian. “Imagine leaving loved ones, possibly learning a new language, and finding a new home – we hope these stories prompt conversations about what we as a community can do to support and welcome people no matter their circumstances.”