We are blessed to have Francis Tabu and his family as members of The Church of Our Saviour The Redeemer in Stoney Creek. Francis is currently working with refugees in Bangladesh and he mentioned that the children there are without toys and books. Recently Francis travelled back to Bangladesh and volunteered to deliver a suitcase full of toys and books to an aid organization working with the children in the camps in support of their learning.
Francis shared with us a little about the history of the area and their struggles as follows. “In August 2017, following violent military crackdown in Rhakine state, Myanmar; about 700,000 Rohingya people were forcibly displaced into neighbouring Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh. Now one of the largest refugee camps in the world, where living conditions are tough due to overcrowding, limited access to livelihood, 95% of families depend solely on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. This too is dwindling. In May 2023, their food rations were reduced to barely $8 per person per month. Access to education is available through makeshift learning centres that lack many of the basics seen in developed settings. Donations of toys and school materials from the members of the church were given to one of the child friendly centres in Camp 21 that hosts about 17,000 Rohingya refugees.”
Our parish knitting group has joined with the knitting group at Amica in Stoney Creek and together this cheery group of woman have knitted a beautiful variety of baby clothes and blankets. These ladies, knowing of the hardships endured by the families there, have donated 50 pounds of baby blankets and clothes. These knitted goods will accompanying Francis on his next trip to Bangladesh. As our kitting coordinator Jean Jaggard has said, “There is so much need in the world it is an honour to help in any way we can.”
Sometimes it takes something like hearing from someone who has actually visited and lived in these refugee camps for us to realize how very blessed we are to live here in Canada. Often it is so very easy for us to read about the conditions in other parts of the world and then quickly forget them. We are thankful that Francis has shared his experiences with us and that we were able to respond in some small way.