Sikhs offer Syrians free schooling, food and shelter

The Sikh community across Metro Vancouver has come together to help the roughly 3,000 refugees expected to arrive in the region

The Sikh community has stepped up to help Syrian refugees. The decision came out of a meeting organized by Liberal Surrey-Centre MP Randeep Sarai.

The Sikh community has stepped up to help Syrian refugees. The decision came out of a meeting organized by Liberal Surrey-Centre MP Randeep Sarai.

SURREY — The Sikh community across Metro Vancouver has come together to help the roughly 3,000 refugees expected to arrive in the region before February.

Sikhs will contribute food, clothing, transportation and schooling for up to 2,000 refugees, according to a release. They say it’s an in-kind contribution in the millions.

The decision came out of a meeting organized by Liberal Surrey-Centre MP Randeep Sarai.

The Sikhs’ commitment includes free tuition for 1,000 students at Khalsa School, hoping to ease concerns the school district has expressed in its ability to handle the large influx of new students.

“Our board has agreed to offer 1,000 students tuition-free education for one year at either of one of our three campuses,” said principal Kamalpreet Bagga, “and we have the capacity because we have one of the largest campuses in B.C. We should welcome those that need us and what better way than giving their children a great education.”

She added, “We even have several teachers who speak Arabic and we will do whatever we can to help the new students feel welcome.”

Gurdwaras from Vancouver, Richmond, New Westminster, Abbotsford and Surrey have agreed to offer free meals, clothing and blankets to 2,000 refugees for three months.

As well, through a province-wide campaign, the community says it will find free housing for at least 200 refugee families.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com