HURON-PERTH – The Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron (MAPH) remains busy bringing supplies to new Canadian families, encouraging people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations and providing rapid testing.
“It’s very hard because now we see the COVID cases growing again,” said MAPH Founder Gezahgn Wordofa. “Some people have already got vaccines, some do not.”
As a community member and leader, he feels it is important to encourage those who haven’t already got it to accept the jab, but he said he understands why some refugees have refused to get vaccinated. It’s hard for them to trust governments.
“The main issue is some of them come from refugee camps,” said Wordofa. “They have so much pain in their past and they decided they don’t want more of that. We understand that. I know they came from refugee camps. I came from there but that’s not a good reason because they could die from COVID.”
He said some of the people the MAPH is trying to help are removing their children from schools, daycare and even university.
“We tell them this is not good,” he said. “School is very important for the children.”
The rules around vaccination and testing have been causing issues with employment. Some companies have been allowing the MAPH to help out with rapid testing.
“But for how long?” Wordofa asked. “At the end of the day, people need to get vaccinated. Some companies refuse testing and are requiring the vaccine passport.”
Wordofa said they are asking parents not to remove their children from school.
“We ask them to give the kids a chance to go to school,” he said. “The children are very adamant that they have to listen to mom and dad.
“It’s a very tough situation.”
MAPH is attempting to have a diverse variety of doctors who speak many languages contact local newcomers to discuss vaccination and COVID-19.
“We contact Indian doctors, Russian doctors – they can listen, they can understand it,” said Wordofa. “That is the main thing that we do. We try to educate people. We’ll never give up. We took this risk – we show them how many people have died. We show them this is not a joke. This is not fake.”
He said the MAPH owes a debt of thanks to the North Perth Chamber of Commerce.
“They are supplying us with tests,” he said. “That’s very, very important.”
Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner