December 10, 2018 4:01 pm

Welcome Place launching program to give each newcomer child a gift

Four-year-old Manzi Tibert holding his new teddy bear.

Amber McGuckin/Global News

Newcomer children arriving in Winnipeg will now be welcomed with a special gift.

Welcome Place — Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, is giving children dolls and teddy bears dressed in clothing from each child’s culture.

READ MORE: Refugee family excited for new life in Winnipeg

Rita Chahal, the organization’s executive director says more than 100 children come through their doors each year.

“It’s really, we focused on being kind to one another and being kind to our children. So I hope this program will grow and we will be able to provide these dolls to other settlement agencies across the country,” she said.

Seven-year-old Isimbi Kavene holding one of the new dolls from the Touch of Kindness program.

Amber McGuckin/Global News

On Monday, Zaburi Muremera’s five children all got their own present. The family was living in a refugee camp in Rwanda since the parents fled the Congo.

“It won’t make the kids feel lonely anymore so they will be happy,” Muremera said.

“Back home, we didn’t have peace and now we have peace.”

Muremera says she wants to become a health-care aid while her husband wants to become a truck driver while they raise their children in Canada.

A look at what comes in one of the Touch of Kindness packages.

Amber McGuckin/Global News

This new program is called Touch of Kindness and the goal is for each newcomer child to get a package.

To do that, Chahal says they need donations.

“We have the first 40 [which] were donations. We don’t have funds for [the whole program] yet. We hope that people will — the generosity of Winnipeggers that we have seen before will continue to donate to us and a portion of those donations will be used to cover the costs,” she said.

Chahal says the welcome packages are being made by a charity in the United States called Don’t Cry… I’m Here.

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