Class of 2018

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The Monde family takes another step toward a better life, and remains ever thankful to West Nipissing

by Isabel Mosseler

On Valentine’s Day 2017, the Monde-Jules family arrived in West Nipissing after travelling 20,000 km from the sweltering hot Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya to a northern Ontario winter. The people of West Nipissing raised $40K in just three months over the winter of 2016/17 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, but when it became apparent that Canadian red tape was not going to cooperate, the local Neighbours Without Borders / Voisins sans frontières group decided that a family in need is a family in need, and shifted focus to assisting a family from one of the largest refugee camps in the world. 

The Monde-Jules family, originally from Congo, had been in the Kakuma refugee camp since 2009. This week, on September 4, 2018, nine years later, Gadi Jules began his first day of classes at St. Clair College in Windsor, preparing for a career in health sciences. 

The Monde-Jules family moved to Windsor in early 2018, for employment purposes and also to be closer to a Congolese community in that city. Gadi Jules, aged 20, on behalf of his family, wishes to express the family’s gratitude and love to the “Neighbours” in West Nipissing who made a brighter future possible for them. It’s been incredibly difficult to adjust, easier for the younger generation, but the possibilities for a thriving future are now more than just a dream.

In a telephone interview, Gadi said, “It is very important. On behalf of the Monde-Jules family we would like to thank the community of Sturgeon Falls [West Nipissing], first of all for receiving us with both hands and an open heart, for helping us throughout the days we spent in Sturgeon Falls. [The people] are very curious to know how we were doing, and we really, really appreciate that. It’s not something we get that much over here. We’re very grateful, very, very grateful, for the wonderful help from the wonderful people. Special thanks to the Humberts, and special thanks to Céleste and Jean-Luc [Auger-Proulx]– I stayed at Céleste and Jean-Luc’s to finish my high school. Special thanks to my teachers. Oh my God, my teachers at Northern! I love them all. I will miss all of them - my fellow students too. I didn’t get to graduate with all the students in my class – they are graduating next year. I wish I could have graduated with them.”

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Gadi Jules was all smiles as he celebrated his graduation from Northern Secondary School with principal Laurent Paquette. The young man came to West Nipissing as a refugee in 2017, and thanks to support from the community, he was able to complete his high school studies and move on to college with aspirations to work in the medical field.

Jenny and Greg Humbert, of Neighbours without Borders, proudly flank Gadi Jules during his high school graduation.

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Retrospective 2017