Multicultural Association members talk about issues affecting Perth County newcomers

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HURON-PERTH – During the Multicultural Association of Perth Huron’s annual conference at the Bruce Hotel Stratford on Dec. 17, the conversation touched on the tireless work of volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Perth County council, multicultural celebrations and well wishes for 2021 now that a vaccine has been approved.

“We decided Perth County is our home,” said Gezahgn Wordofa, founder of the Multicultural Association. “We decided Perth County is our county in Canada … we came … to Listowel or Stratford or St. Marys. Some people go to capital cities, this is our capital here – Perth where a lot of foods grow.”

He said the main goal now for the multicultural association is to get some good dialogue going.

“It is a time to learn from each other,” said Wordofa. “Why did the Canadian government invite us to this country? Some of us come from political issues … it’s hard for us, it’s hard for children … There is room to sit down together to talk about what is wrong. We are lucky to be in this county. We love this community.”

Wordofa said that even if newcomers feel excluded from conversations they won’t give up.

“It’s not a time to ignore each other - to hate each other,” he said. “The Canadian government allowed us – they gave us a visa – we have visas – nobody will get kicked out of this county.” The work newcomers do in the community is something Wordofa speaks very highly of.

“We build churches, hospitals, retirement homes,” he said. “We don’t need anything – love us, support us, respect us. We are here. We are working.”

He spoke of how some newcomers do the jobs other people hate – dirty jobs. Wordofa said those jobs allow people to save for their family and sends their kids to school.