Children come first and foremost for Jasmin Brar. That’s why she founded The movement of young minds and that is why she is currently helping 23 Afghan children, who are staying temporarily in a hotel in Mississauga, to find warm clothes for the winter.
The Brampton resident and mother of two mobilized for 24 hours to provide a few basic items for the children, like closed-toe shoes and warm jackets.
âThey were given clothes, but they were worn and dirty,â Brar said. âThey have to sort out the clothes donated to the hotel, and they don’t fit well. The pants are too high, they wear sandals, they need something better for the cold.
On September 28, an Afghan social worker contacted Brar to make him aware that Afghan families who had recently fled Afghanistan were staying in a hotel in Mississauga, but lacked appropriate clothing, especially as winter approached.
Brar went to the hotel with Manpreet Bedi, a Young Minds Movement volunteer, to measure the height of the children’s feet and clothes.
Already, they’ve spent $ 700-800 on shoes and are finding second-hand jackets. Because the organization cannot afford to provide all of the funding, Brar asks family, friends and colleagues to help cover the cost of the items.
âThey are so thankful for what we do,â recalls Brar when he first met the families. âAt least one person in each family could speak English so they could explain their needs to us. ”
She added that there were a lot of infants and toddlers, diapers and baby products were in demand. Feminine hygiene products were also needed.
âThe goal of our organization is that no child should ever be left behind medically, physically and mentally. Children come first for us. It’s good that we live in Canada, but what if we were exactly in their place? We will have to be confident that the country we are going to will treat us first as human beings and not as foreign nationals, âBrar stressed.
Her mission to help children began when she founded The Young Minds Movement in 2019 to ensure that young people in Peel and the Greater Toronto Area practice mindfulness every day. As someone who grew up with anxiety, Brar found that mindfulness – being more aware of staying in the moment – helped him alleviate his own stress. Once she had her two children, she wanted to pass some mindfulness practices on to them and other children in the community.
Meanwhile, Brar decided to make a proposal to Peel Schools by contacting an administrator to help implement mindfulness practices in educational settings, allowing them to organize workshops for children and parents.
Helping the community and the children is the reason Bedi joined the organization two years ago. As a father, he felt compelled to devote his time to helping children.
Speaking about Afghan children, Bedi said, âyou want them to grow up like our children would,â noting that children and parents just want to be seen and welcomed.
âI want to help them and not give them the impression that they come from a foreign country. We have to show up and help, âhe said. He also mentioned that clothes are only one way to provide help, but families also need basic necessities such as over-the-counter medicine, English lessons and schooling.
Brar said a member of the organization will go and provide a sports workshop for children while they play football, offering tools to be mindful when playing sports.
“It will give the kids something to do, instead of being locked inside,” she said.
As Brar’s practice dictates, helping children in Peel and far is not just the right thing to do, but the necessary thing to do.