Jeff and I work with a group of refugees from Burma that live here. Thought I would put some info on here about refugee resettlement and how you can help.
The United Nations assists in the process of helping people who are fleeing persecution move and settle to a different country through its agency the United Nations High Council on Refugees (UNHCR). This process is called resettlement. The United States accepts refugees each year to be resettled here. The actual number is set by the president on a yearly basis, but in 2009 it was 80,000 people. There are around 22 areas in the country that accept refugees to be resettled. Our city one of those areas. The UN has set particular criteria for a person to resettle. Many times it is due to religious or ethnic persecution, but there are also entire people groups that are granted refugee status.
Once people are resettled here, they are helped by the US government for 3 months. They are given a stipend (around $400) during this time, and then they are on their own. The majority of these refugees do not know English very well, if at all, and have never lived in an industrialized society.
Jeff and I work with a particular people group who have fled Burma, called Karen (pronounced Kah-rin). The Karen are persecuted by the Burmese government, and therefore flee into refugee camps at the Thailand / Burma border. From there they can apply for resettlement, which is how they end up here.
We currently work with a ministry to help the Karen here with their physical needs, as well as pointing them to Christ. Jeff leads a Bible Study for the teenage boys and mentors a few of them. We are also working to start a tutoring program to help the students with their school work. Most of the children are very behind in school once they get here and usually know very little English. Unfortunately, their parents are unable to help them with school because they have had very little education themselves.
We believe a relationship with Christ and an education are the two most valuable things that we can offer. Tutors can not only help these children get through school and get an education, but also share Christ’s love with them and give them true hope for the future.
So….next weekend we will be doing a disbursement of clothing, blankets, socks/underwear and toiletry items. If you have any of these items you would like to donate, please let me know, and I will pick them up from you this week. Below is the list of items.
CLOTHES – Used or New. They need adult, teen, children and baby clothes.
BLANKETS – Used or New
SOCKS / UNDERWEAR – New, of course. Eww…. 🙂
TOILETRY ITEMS – New
I know that I have been cleaning out closets as I bring in Fall clothes, so I thought this might hit at a good time for some of you. 🙂
Thank you so much for anything you might be able to provide!