January 19, 2018 6:52 pm
Updated: January 20, 2018 5:35 pm

Saskatoon school receives peace medal for sponsoring refugee family

WATCH ABOVE: The YMCA of Saskatoon recognized the École St. Matthew School community for sponsoring a refugee family in 2017.


The École St. Matthew School community is being recognized for privately sponsoring a family of seven from Burundi.

Before the family arrived last September, the school fundraised $30,000, through initiatives such as a talent show and a bake sale.

READ MORE: Saskatoon school brings Burundian refugee family to the city

“It was a lot of work with parents and everyone at the school did a lot of stuff to help. We did fundraising and it did take a few years, but it was really fun,” Grade 8 student Tauren Taylor said.

On Friday morning, the school was recognized for its two-year effort, receiving the YMCA 2017 peace medal.

“It really comes down to people that sometimes go unrecognized by the community. They do these great things and they don’t expect any recognition, but people realize that if we do recognize these people, it actually has a ripple effect in the community,” Saskatoon YMCA CEO Dean Dodge said.

The elementary school was recognized for the two-year effort to sponsor a refugee family from Burundi.

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READ MORE: Peterborough advocate Charmaine Magumbe receives YMCA Peace Medal

Each year the YMCA recognizes those who, without any special resources, status, or wealth, have demonstrated a commitment to building peace in the community

“Elementary school age children can still realize that they do have the capability and the power to reach out and transform the greater world,” École St. Matthew School principal Marc Colleaux said.

The school started planning to bring the family to Saskatoon back in 2015, when the Canadian government announced it would bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in a matter of months. At the time, the family was living in a refugee camp in Rwanda, after fleeing a years-long civil war in Burundi.

“If it were my family I wouldn’t want to be separated or in a bad situation, so it makes me happy that we helped them out,” Grade 7 student Isaac Vandenhurk said.

The YMCA recognized École St. Matthew School with a peace medal.

Devin Sauer / Global News

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