Canadian CTV News has a video report on the Winnipeg based Gray Academy of Jewish Education’s sponsorship of seven refugee families, and the donation drive the student body undertook to ensure the families were supplied with household and kitchen items.
To mark its commemoration of Raul Wallenberg day (a Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews) the school organized donations of utensils, towels, toothbrushes and toothpastes and other household items. In the words of one of the students “even if it’s with the little things, any little thing can help them out”
But to a refugee, no act of kindness is too little. Indeed, it is the “little” things that refugees remember. Unwelcoming shop keepers. Dirty looks on public transportation. Unfriendly and hostile neighbors. A refugee can survive in their host country only to the degree to which that society tolerates their presence. With their act of generosity, the students of Gray Academy are telling the families who will soon resettle in Winnipeg; “not only are you tolerated in our city, we welcome you as neighbors and friends, with open arms.”
To a refugee, a donated plate, table cloth or chair symbolizes far more than their material worth. Most refugees would be happy with indifference as opposed to hostility from the communities they settle in. But if household items could speak, each one donated by the students of Gray Academy would say “welcome to Canada.”
To see the CTV video report click here.