SAGA vision involves bringing two refugee families to Gabriola

Don Buskirk

Submitted Article

Wednesday, November 25 2015

SAGA - SAnctuary GAbriola, a Gabriola Group Sponsoring Refugees – has a vision of bringing two refugee families to the Island, a goal that can be achieved with help from the greater Gabriola community.

To gauge the level of local support, SAGA held its first public meeting November 14 at the WI Hall. Results exceeded expectations! 

35 people filled the room, listening to SAGA founder John Van Praet’s excellent presentation explaining the process of sponsoring a refugee, and the role Gabriolans can play in sponsorship.

Questions and comments flowed freely, demonstrating not only interest and support, but a wealth of experience from people who have previously sponsored refugees.

Many who came were just curious, but 2/3rds left having signed up to help: offering assistance in fundraising, providing household furnishings, medical and trauma support, housing, and English language instruction. Offers are still coming in! All who offered will be contacted shortly.

Although this assistance is gratifying and vital, fundraising will be necessary. Private sponsors such as SAGA must provide all living expenses for a refugee family for a year – housing, food, clothing, furnishings, transportation. 

Much of this can be covered by gifts in kind, but sometimes only cash will do.

Having discovered their vision is do-able, SAGA’s founders will meet November 20 to map its future.

Want to help? Call or email John. 250-325-3064 or