The Neighborhood Community Officers Popalzai and Ghotbi, came to Canada as refugees from Afghanistan and Iran, both know by their personal experiences the challenges that refugees face in their journey of resettling in a big city like Toronto.
They started Project Hope last year by attending the hotels where these Afghan refugees were landing in, they approached them to know their needs and make sure they feel welcomed after they suffered tremendous difficult times when they arrived in military planes with no backpacks or luggage. Both Police Officers got emotional when they saw the children in the hotels having barely nothing to wear and no toys to play, however, they are thankful to receive the support from the Senior Command and their bosses at 51 Division and be encouraged to take some time off in the Regent Park community to assist these Afghan refugees with donations.
For both Community Officers, it is very important to make sure they build a strong connection with the new generation of refugees and clear some misconceptions about policing, make them feel welcome in the neighborhood and make sure they don’t feel fearful of police but rather protected.
Donations can still be dropped off at 51 Division at 51 Parliament Street. Some of the items they are looking for are: School supplies such as (backpacks, School essentials, tablets/electronics), children’s essentials such as (Diapers and strollers), Hygiene products such as (shampoos, soap, etc).
For more information please contact PC Popalzai/PC Ghotbi at RegentPark@torontopolice.on.ca
By Fred Alvarado
(Fred is a journalist with the Focus Media Arts Centre)