New Canadians Centre in Peterborough to help resettle 78 Afghan refugees

Organization expects many of the refugees, who arrive on Friday, will want to permanently settle in Toronto area

Federal immigration minister Marco Mendicino (left) and Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef (second from left) welcome initial Afghan refugees at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on August 5, 2021. Monsef was 11 years old when she fled from the Taliban along with her mother and two sisters, arriving in Peterborough in 1996. (Photo: Rachael Allen / Canadian Armed Forces)
Federal immigration minister Marco Mendicino (left) and Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef (second from left) welcome initial Afghan refugees at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on August 5, 2021. Monsef was 11 years old when she fled from the Taliban along with her mother and two sisters, arriving in Peterborough in 1996. (Photo: Rachael Allen / Canadian Armed Forces)

New Canadians Centre in Peterborough will be supporting the resettlement of a group of 78 Afghan refugees, who will be arriving in Peterborough on Friday (September 17).

The Canadian government will be resettling around 20,000 Afghan refugees, many of whom helped Canadian soldiers and diplomats during the fight against the Taliban. The refugees include women leaders, human rights workers, and journalists who (along with their families) would be targeted by the Taliban now that it has once again seized control of Afghanistan.

In an email, New Canadians Centre’s executive director Andy Cragg says he expects many of the refugees will be staying in Peterborough for four to eight weeks but will want to live in the Toronto area permanently.

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Almost 2,000 Afghan refugees have already arrived in Toronto, where many are expected to settle to be close to family and friends. COSTI, the main settlement agency in Toronto, is supporting their resettlement.

While the 78 Afghan refugees are in Peterborough, New Canadians Centre 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.

“While we know this will be a big challenge, we are excited at the opportunity to contribute to the national effort to resettle Afghan refugees,” Cragg writes. “And we are confident that you and many other members of our community will be ready and willing to lend a hand.”

Once the Afghan refugees arrive in Peterborough on Friday, New Canadians Centre will be assessing their needs. The organization is requesting that people do not drop off donated items at its office as it does not have the capacity to process them; New Canadians Centre will issue a call for items once it has assessed the needs of the refugees.

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If you want to help, New Canadians Centre suggests you:

  • Create hand-made cards and drawings to welcome the refugees to Canada and drop them in the organization’s mailbox at 221 Romaine Street in Peterborough by Friday. New Canadians Centre will give the cards and drawings to the refugees when they arrive in Peterborough.
  • Be a welcoming and inclusive community member. “Arriving in a new community having fled war and crisis can be extremely stressful,” Cragg writes. “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.”
  • Volunteer to support resettlement programs. New Canadians Centre is currently assessing needs and processes for volunteers. Check the organization’s website at nccpeterborough.ca/get-involved/volunteer/ for updates.
  • Provide affordable housing. If you are a landlord or property manager who can provide affordable and safe housing for refugees, email New Canadians Centre at ncc@nccpeterborough.ca.