COLUMN: Locals make a difference at home and abroad

Many locals are making their mark around the globe and at home.

  • Mar. 2, 2014 10:00 a.m.

On the Spot by Ken Herar

Many locals are making their mark around the globe and at home.

Former Abbotsford mayor and longtime high school principal George Peary recently returned from India on Dec. 12 where he was teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley for four months.

This was Peary’s second trip to Chandigarh, the capital city of Punjab, which is located in northern India. He and his wife Silvia first visited UFV Chandigarh in the fall of 2012, where he taught first- and fourth-year business classes. While being provided all the luxuries of a visiting professor: driver, car, cook and accommodations  – a busy schedule was maintained teaching six days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“India is colourful, vibrant and the food is spectacular, but the people make India. We were welcomed and treated royally,” said Peary.

During his stay, he and his wife had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal, Golden Temple and travel to the cities of  Jaipur, Shimla and Goa.

When Peary returned to Canada, he was approached by Shav Brar from the board of the Dasmesh Punjabi School in Abbotsford.

They offered him the principalship of the school for six months. It was an offer that he couldn’t refuse.

“I love it and it’s a remarkable school. It’s the first time I have been a principal of an elementary school in my career. I am even taller than a few of my students,” said Peary. To view pictures from Peary’s journey, visit

* Two Abbotsford women are seeing your support to help children in need.

Kim Lee, founder of Imani Orphan Care Foundation, and Amanda Rauh of Watoto, Rescue, Raise Rebuild Foundation, are travelling to Kenya and Uganda this spring.

Lee noted, “We are a Canadian non-profit organization that supports children in need in two orphanages in Kenya. These precious children were abandoned by their families, orphaned, or rescued from an unhealthy situation. We support them with donations and sponsorships to help pay for their food, education, health care, and spiritual instruction.”

Imani’s goal is to help offer these disadvantaged children the opportunity to gain tools, skills, and knowledge, so that they can create better futures for themselves.

“… you’ll make a difference in the life of a child in need in Kenya. The funds will be used for the ongoing care of all the kids that spend their childhood living there,” said Lee.

To sponsor a child or find out more, visit:

* At home, Bridges of Faith recently commemorated a United Nations interfaith initiative with three tours of place of worship, a major dialogue event, and other community-building events in January and February in Abbotsford.

“This group maintains the world view  that it is okay that people have different beliefs, and that we can respectfully and lovingly contribute to the community in our own way,” said  Rudolf Dutoit of Abbotsford Community Services.Support Bridges of Faith by joining an interfaith event, or partner in interfaith work: or 604 859 7681 ext 270.