After 40 years, The Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE) has changed name to Care for Newcomers. The name was changed to reflect that they serve a broader community of Newcomers to Canada.
It was originally founded in 1979 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to assist with the settlement of Indochinese refugees fleeing the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the focus of the society in 1980 was to help Refugees arriving in Central Alberta. In the last 40 years we have evolved to not only serve Refugees, but all Newcomers to Canada, and promote a welcoming community for them.
Frank Bauer, The Executive Director for CARE talks about the reason for the name change.
" Over the past 40 years, we have gone from helping refugees to helping all newcomers to Canada. The majority of those arriving to our country are either economic immigrants or skilled workers, or family class who will join their families. Our organization is often not recognized for doing those services as well. We've evolved to also promoting a welcoming and inclusive community where the entire community is happy to receive any newcomers."
Part of the branding for CARE is "Proud to be your neighbor. Let's end racism in Red Deer." Bauer explains where many of the newcomers are arriving from.
"They are arriving from many countries. Currently we have lots from East Asia, India, and The Philippines, where a lot of our new talented and skilled immigrants are from. On a national level, Canada is aiming to welcome 350 to 400 thousand immigrants per year. A small portion of those are refugees. On a national and provincial level we do need immigrants to keep our population up and to keep our work force up as well. With our aging population, if we had no immigrants, within the next five to ten years we will be short of skilled labour."
Another aspect of CARE is to provide chances for newcomers to Central Alberta.
"We show how life is in Canada but also to help them with getting their credentials recognized. Getting businesses to recognize that not having Canadian education doesn't mean that these people will be less skilled, it's just different education and education recognition. One of the myths is that all refugees are poor, illiterate, and not educated, which is definitely not the case."
With the recent wars in Syria, Afghanistan and now Ukraine, does CARE foresee many refugees coming to Central Alberta?
"Yes, I think in general there will be an increase in displaced people around the world, and Canada is one of the active countries to welcome them. Overall, I would anticipate that. How that will play our for numbers in Central Alberta, that is hard to predict. In the coming year I can definitely see an increase of especially Ukrainian nationals and Afghan refugees."
If you would like more information of CARE, check out their website here.