"Why do I help refugees? Because I am a mother."
Laurie Cooper is the founder of Canada Caring Society. Laurie became involved with supporting and advocating for refugees after seeing the picture of the lifeless body of a young Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, on a Turkish beach in September 2015.
She was so moved by the tragedy that she decided to look into how she could help refugees. Since 2015, Laurie has travelled overseas four times to work in refugee camps, she has advocated for refugees' rights, and she has been directly involved in sponsoring over 300 refugees.
Laurie's background in journalism and communications has helped her reach people across the country and around the world to engage support for refugees. In 2018, she received international media attention for helping a Syrian refugee who was living in the Kuala Lumpur Airport for over 7 months. Hassan Al Kontar arrived safely in Whistler, Canada in November 2018 and has since become an outspoken advocate for refugees and a successful author.
When asked why she has committed herself to this work, Laurie says, "Why do I help refugees? Because I am a mother. The mothers of these young people can't help their sons and daughters. I am privileged to live in a country which allows me to bring them to a safe place where they can build a good life. If my son or daughter were in a foreign country and needed help, I hope another mother would help them."
Since 2016, Laurie has partnered with the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort in Whistler, BC, Canada. Laurie and Canada Caring Society undertake private refugee sponsorships for individuals and couples and the hotel provides jobs and subsidized accommodation. To date, 18 young people from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan have arrived in Canada as part of the project.
Canada Caring Society