Happy One Year 'Arrival In Canada' Anniversary!!!

It is hard to believe that it has been one year since the day the Ngelelo family arrived in Canada. So much love, planning and anticipation went into preparing for that moment. Thank you to everyone who helped make this sponsorship possible.

A year later, it is fair to say that the 12 months have been rich with inspiring, challenging, humbling and many many rewarding experiences. We have shared endless wonderful adventures, learnings and have forged deep friendships that will last for year to come. 

The children are loving school, growing their language skills and playing sports. One is playing competitive soccer and is loving it! Mom and Dad are quickly moving through several levels of English at school and continue to enjoy their studies as stepping stones to their long term financial and employment goals.  With monthly government and sponsorship funding completed, no doubt that the year ahead will be full of new challenges as they try to find ways to support their family of seven. However, they are all very hard working, motivated, resourceful and keen to build a happy and successful life here in Calgary for themselves so their future looks bright!  We hope that the community will continue to get to know and support them. Our Refuge4All Group will be sure to keep you posted about ways to continue contributing and offering support to their on-going settlement journey,  should you be moved to do so. And to those who have shared this journey with us this year, THANK YOU for all that you have already offered. It has made a life-changing difference for this beautiful family.


This morning the family took the bus to swimming lessons and enjoyed some good ol' sunny Canadian winter weather to celebrate the day!

(We have postponed hosting a one year anniversary party this weekend because our Refuge4All Sponsor Group is awaiting the birth of a baby (due today actually!) .... stay tuned for more exciting news shortly- about baby and about a time to gather in the months ahead to celebrate this memorable year with the family, friends, sponsors, volunteers, donors and community members)

Christmas and New Years Celebrations

Sadly, there was a death in the family back in Africa during the Christmas season... in fact, the news arrived on the morning of the day we had a big Christmas celebration planned. The gathering was cancelled in order to create space for supporting the Ngelelos in their grieving process. After the mourning rituals were completed, Dad explained that it was ok to 'receive joy again' so he invited us to come over to visit. We shared food and shared with them their Christmas gifts. It was a wonderful afternoon together. They were extremely happy and grateful for everything. THANK YOU to the many volunteers, community donors (near and far) and to all of the Refuge4All Sponsor Group members who made this 'first Christmas experience' possible. 

Visit with Donors and Friends!

The Ngelelos were touched by a donation they received from a community of donors hailing from Ontario. Many donors from the group were affiliated with a United Church in Toronto. Others were citizens and community members who had heard the story of Ngelelos arrival in Canada and  wanted to support them in contributing towards their resettlement living costs, such as the repayment of their government travel/medical loan.

Experiencing Hallowe'en!

The kids used face paint and simple costumes to dress up for  some trick or treating in their neighbourhood. It did not take long for the children to realize how things worked and soon were running from door to door collecting as much candy as possible:) At one point, someone jumped out of a ditch and scared some kids and everyone  enjoyed a long laugh about it all. They seemed to really enjoy the ‘scary’ fun side of the occasion.


Stampede and White Hatting!

The Ngelelo family enjoyed a fun morning of taking in the Stampede Parade festivities! 

Thanks to Mayor Naheed Nenshi and MLA GIan-Carlo Carra, Ward 9 Councillor in Calgary,  the family was treated to a white-hatting ceremony following the parade! This ceremony is an honour bestowed on people with a special place in the city of Calgary's heart. Many of the Refuge4All Sponsor Group were there in attendance to witness and participate in the exciting occasion!

Playing Soccer- A Way to Learn About Life in Canada

Thanks to the leadership of Jean-Claude Munyezamu Calgary has an “innovative multicultural outreach program aimed at integrating new Canadians into their community”. The program that uses soccer as a universal language to help newcomers come together play sport as a way to learn life skills to help them in their new life in a new country. The kids loved their two hours on Saturdays at the field doing drills, scrimmaging and playing games. The program provided cleats, shorts, a ball and socks for each player along with amazing coaching. Getting out of the house and playing their favourite sport was a lifeline for the family in those early days here in Calgary. Our sponsor group took turns providing transportation and playing soccer with them each weekend throughout the Spring and Summer season.We got to connect with other sponsor groups and their families. A community of players began to grow and one child from our family has gone on to play competitive soccer in the Calgary Minor Soccer League- an opportunity that arose thanks to the SWB program.

For more information on the programs being offered, click here: Soccer Without Boundaries

Kids from the Refuge4All Sponsor Group enjoyed Saturday afternoons playing soccer outdoors with the Ngelelo kids!

Kids from the Refuge4All Sponsor Group enjoyed Saturday afternoons playing soccer outdoors with the Ngelelo kids!

First Day of School!!

It took a long time to get the five kids registered, placed and starting school. By the time the day came, they were so excited! Organizing the logistics of 5 kids at three different schools in three different quadrants of the city was a feat. After a few months, we were able to arrange bussing and soon the family settled into a rhythm of getting to and from school each day with more ease. School has been a much needed structure, a way to learn English and a source of social integration for everyone, including the parents who are attending classes at Columbia College.. The family highly values education. They are bright, motivated  and keen to learn.