When Thanh Tazumi was 9-years-old she and her parents, siblings and extended family of 11, clambered into a little wooden boat and took to the sea to escape the Communist regime in North Vietnam.
They were nearly overcome by fear, thirst and hunger, and even the ocean itself, surviving the near-sinking of their vessel.
Ultimately, they made it to safety in Hong Kong where they spent three years in a refugee camp before being accepted into Canada in 1984.
In an effort to obtain a future, security and freedom for their children, Tazumi’s parents risked everything.
“They put us all on a boat when they had no idea where we were going, and they thought the chance of us living was slim,” says Tazumi. “But they went anyway. That to me, took a lot of courage.”
Her family was among the more than 60,000 people offered refuge in Canada after the Communist victory in the Vietnam War.
Tazumi is one of the former refugees in Campbell River and the Comox Valley who will share their stories in a social media video project launched by Immigrant Welcome Centre.
“The #UncommonCourage project celebrates the bravery and resilience of people forced to abandon their homes, former lives and sometimes their families to rebuild their lives and dreams in a new country,” said Jim Brennan, Executive Director of Immigrant Welcome Centre.
By sharing real faces and real stories, the #UncommonCourage videos will combat the stereotypes, discrimination and inflammatory rhetoric often associated with the refugee issue, said Brennan.
The videos are particularly timely, as Campbell River and Comox Valley are in the midst welcoming their first families fleeing the Syrian civil war, he added.
The series of three video clips will be released successively over the summer months on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and broadcast on Shaw TV.
To view the #UncommonCourage video visit Immigrant Welcome Centre of North Vancouver Island or YouTube youtu.be/BrG7DoC8Rdk