2014-2015 SCHA Meetings
When: Tues. Oct. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Simcoe County Museum
Speaker: John Merritt
Topic: The Oro Black Settlement: Black Realities, White Interpretations, 1819-1949
Joint meeting with SCHA, BHA & The Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 147
When: Tues. Nov. 18 -7:30 p.m.
Where: Royal Canadian Legion- Dr. W.C. (Bill) Little Branch 147
410 St. Vincent St. (off Ferris Lane), Barrie
Speakers: Lori Oschefski & Sandra Joyce
Topic: Breaking the Silence: The British Home Children
From the late 19th Century to 1949, between 118 to 120 thousand children of all ages were brought to Canada in a migrant scheme to be used as indentured farm workers and domestics. Upon arrival in Canada, and after ensuring their fitness, the children would be sent to distributing homes and then to farms under contract until the age of 18 years old. The children often found an ambivalent welcome. Some were fortunate enough to be placed with families who cared well for them, however the monitoring of children’s placements was often neglected, and many children found themselves essentially abandoned to new lives which were worse than the old.
When the First World War broke out, almost 100 percent of the Home Boys who were eligible to enlist did and after extensive research, the British Home Child advocacy and Research Association have counted up to 10,000 Home Boys who enlisted and 1,043 who have been identified so far as having lost their lives in or as a result of the war.
During a special commemorative service held on July 28th, Don Cherry, whose maternal grandfather was a Home Boy and served in the Canadian army in the First World War, joined the BHCARA as they unveiled a Roll of Honour plaque, listing the names of the British Home Children who perished as a result of the First World War at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto.
Lori Oschefski, CEO of The British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association, will reveal the key reasons why there was such a high enlistment rate. Co-speaker Sandra Joyce, will also talk about how, as a direct result of the First World War, the number of children included in this child migration scheme dramatically increased. Her two books – ‘The Street Arab’ and the newly released ‘Belonging’ address the issue of the First World War and Second World War and how the British Home Children, of whom, her father was one, struggled with his identity even as part of the Canadian army during the Italian campaign.
~ Speaker Biographies ~
Executive Director, Canada
British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association
British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association
Ms. Lori Oschefski is a Genealogical Researcher and Advocate whose work is recognized world-wide. She is the founder and CEO of the British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association and creator of the website “British Home Children in Canada”. Lori was born and raised in Orillia. Ms. Oschefski has been working with family history research which focuses on the British Home Children since 2008 when her mother, at the age of 86, revealed that she was a BHC.. Her work has gained international recognition including coverage with the Winnipeg Free Press, BBC Kent, CBC Ottawa and in February BBC Wales. Her radio interview with CBC Ottawa was ranked one of the best interviews of 2013
Author of “The Street Arab – The Story of a British Home Child” and “Belonging”.
Ms. Sandra Joyce is an Author and Advocate for the British Home Children. She has written two books as well as has done over 150 presentations on the subject. Based on her Home Child father’s life, ‘The Street Arab’ looks at the causes of familial breakdown during and after the First World War, life in the Homes in the UK, a Home Child’s subsequent immigration to Canada as well as a Home Boy’s life on the farm. ‘Belonging’, which is the sequel to the ‘The Street Arab’, looks at the lasting effects this immigration scheme had on these children and their families during adulthood. It will be released at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto on British Home Child Day in Ontario on September 28th. Ms. Joyce is a native Torontonian with a varied career. A Journalism graduate from Ryerson University in Toronto, she was an award-winning publicist during her tenure at CBS Records, a contract negotiator for the German Department of Defence as well as an English teacher and storyteller. She is the Executive Director, Canada for the British Home Children Advocacy & Research Association.