Grand River Union is very excited to again team up with WPIRG in putting together a great event that will draw attention to the needs of the many refugees in the world, and the positive impact they have on society when given the chance. We will be showing the short film: “Here to Stay”, which stresses the importance of having a sense of place through a documentary on FC Lampedusa. As the coaches of the club explain, “what every living creature needs is food and protection. But since we are humans and not animals we also need to be part of society in some way”.
FC Lampedusa is a team of refugees that is sponsored by the Bundesliga club FC St. Pauli, and their story was something we at GRU heard about when we had the privilege of watching FC St. Pauli take the field against Detroit City FC in a friendly last summer. FC Lampedusa includes refugees who live in the city of Hamburg. FC St. Pauli fans saw the need to support these refugees as they looked for a new home and provided a platform for them to play and work, in much the same way that KW Syria United FC has provides a welcome place for refugees in our own community. After the video, we will be hosting a discussion panel with a number of local champions who work tirelessly to support the refugee community. Included in this panel will be Mark Palmer, who is a founder of the FC St. Pauli Toronto supporter’s club and has been supporting FC Lampedusa through his support of St. Pauli. Also joining us will be Mary Saleh, who joined the Syrian National Team for Women in 2004 when it was first established. She has been a tireless worker for change from a young age, being among the first players to gather and form the first soccer club in her hometown, Jableh.
Mary came to Canada in 2017 to pursue a Master’s in English and Film Studies at Laurier through a scholarship program. Since then, she has been working at Reception House and is now working on an initiative to form a soccer team of newcomer girls in the KW area with the goal of providing free access to professional soccer training for them. This initiative believes that there is a need to highlight the importance of integration as well as building youth through sports with a focus on girls.
Please help us continue to build a culture of support by attending this event on Sunday, April 7th at 4:30pm. It is being held at Princess Twin Theatre (46 King St. North, Waterloo). We are asking for $10 to help us cover the costs of facility rental. Any and all profits from the event will go to local refugee charity.
If you would like to attend, you can RSVP on our Facebook page, or our Meet-up page, or just show up!