Kianna L.

Calgary, Alberta

Calgary Regional Heritage School Fair

Vietnamese Boat People - A Part of Canada's Heritage

My project explores how the Vietnamese Boat People are part of Canada's heritage. Both my mom's family and dad's family were Boat People and came to Canada as refugees. The story of how my mom's family came to Canada inspired a Canadian Heritage Minute. Canada accepted over 100 000 Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnam war who are now all proud Canadians. How Canada helped the Vietnamese Boat People reflects what our country is best known for: our kindness!

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

I was surprised and very sad to learn that about half of all the Vietnamese Boat People that tried to flee Vietnam died at sea. That is estimated to be about 500 000 lives lost at sea.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

Canada is a diverse multicultural society. Whether it be Vietnamese Boat people or refugees and immigrants from other countries, we are all Canadians in the end.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Both my mom and dad's family were boat people and came to Canada as refugees. My mom and dad always talk about how hard their parents had to work so they could have a better future. It was hard at first for my grandparents to come to a new country and learn a new language. Even though things are easier for me now, I am always reminded to not take things for granted and to always work hard. I know many families who came to Canada as Vietnamese Boat People. They have passed on their culture and traditions to the rest of Canada and without them, Canada wouldn't be the same.