Au Revoir Nina

Jeannethe Lara

The Anglican Refugee Network is an informal association of volunteers and staff from Canadian Anglican diocesan refugee committees that supports refugees in Canada.  The committees network ecumenically with other sponsoring groups and liaise with refugee serving agencies; address the media and educate parishes and the public at large on immigration options and refugee issues; provide, pastoral, emotional  and financial support to potential refugees during the waiting period outside of Canada; assist and support government sponsored refugees, refugee claimants, refugee serving agencies and newcomers; advocate at the international, national and local level and take on refugee sponsorships. The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund’s refugee desk assists the refugee committees by providing information on refugee issues and facilitating public education and advocacy efforts.
Nina Chiba was the Refugee Coordinator for the Diocese of Calgary for 30 years.

Au Revoir Nina

A couple of weeks ago you wrote to us with sadness that you were leaving your position as Volunteer Diocesan Refugee Program Coordinator.  In your message you shared memories of your 30 years of work: “I remember our beginnings here and waiting with others to meet our first Vietnamese refugees in 78-79”. “I remember with great thanksgivings all those early women and men including our own Kathleen Ptolomy who made this work possible”.  You also expressed appreciation for Archbishop Barry Curtis in the Diocese of Calgary, who initiated the first sponsorship agreement and all the many who helped and worked in this cause. You mentioned that at a recent meeting you met Lily, a refugee worker whose mother was one of the first arrivals under the program.  How gratifying that moment must have been.
 
I only met you a couple of years ago but your passion and commitment to the refugee work and the lives that it touches was evident right away. Your clarity on the need to empower refugee women for them to grow and became independent drove you and your colleagues to engage in a refugee housing project. Many of us remember the difficult times brought by the decision to sell the refugee house and to end the project. It is encouraging to know, that the initiative could re-emerge as the will and spirit are still strongly supportive. You continue to be a champion for refugees and have inspired others to do the same. This is an important legacy that you leave to the Diocese, to those who have worked with you and to the refugee community.

You were and will remain a very important part of the history of The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund’s efforts to bring justice to and protection of the rights of refugees.  Your departure will be deeply felt.  However, the work you are taking up is equally noble. It is a continuation of your lifetime ministry in a region where there are significant needs.  Know that at PWRDF we will keep you in our hearts as you take your courage and sense of justice to Hebron, Palestine.

I am taking this opportunity to thank you for your great contribution and to wish you the best in your work with Christian Peacemaking Teams alongside Muslim and Israeli Peacemakers.

Jeannethe Lara
PWRDF Refugee Program
 

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