Since November 2021, refugee families have been coming to SoCal in larger numbers, with the majority being families who fled Afghanistan in August. All have waited for months in makeshift refugee camps as they were vetted and assigned to a resettlement agency (paid by the US government to settle refugees in 90 days). Only if the refugee family had relatives living in SoCal were new arrivals eventually placed in SoCal.
Meanwhile, the past five years saw the closure of 50% of SoCal resettlement agencies due to the reduced number of refugees allowed to enter the US. As you can imagine, the remaining resettlement case workers are overwhelmed. VOR recognized the situation and moved to help.
In response to the Afghan evacuation, we hired our third Care Worker in December: Sheida. Sheida is a Farsi speaker. While most Afghans speak Dari, Farsi and Dari are dialects of the same language mutually intelligible, but it takes some work to ensure understanding due to differences in pronunciation. We also hired Fadi, who has a generous heart and tremendous experience in helping refugees. He is now greeting arriving refugee families at SoCal airports with a warm welcome in Jesus’ Name while giving a toy to each child. Fadi ensures their first day and transition in SoCal is as smooth as possible. Fadi and Eric also continue to support newly arriving families as they settle in apartments by providing donated furniture and some new household items.
Viola, our Care Manager, who has worked tirelessly for years to help families, now along with Care Assistants Rania and Sheida, continue to care for families by building relationships with each one by listening to identify their greatest needs, to pray with them, and to connect them to resources and services to best meet their needs.
VOR’s new families’ demographics from Nov. 2020 to mid-August 2021 were:
- 270 new families registered for services for the first time
- 33% had been in the U.S. less than a year
- 50% had been in the U.S. less than two years
- 40% are from Egypt (fleeing persecution)
- 23% are from Afghanistan (fleeing violence due to US affiliation)
- 9% are from Syria (fleeing civil war)
Since the Afghan evacuation, we have received seventy-four new refugee and asylum-seeking families:
- 78% of new families have arrived at the US after August 2021
- 57% of new families are from Afghanistan (fleeing violence)
- 28% of new families are from Egypt (fleeing persecution)
- 7% of new families are from Syria (fleeing civil war)
- 8% are from other countries
If you would like to better understand our new Muslim friends from the Middle East and Central Asia, VOR is offering Bridges training for Christians to become good friends with their new neighbors. Bridges training will be on Tuesday evenings in March the 1st, 8, and 15th: Sign Up Online
Please pray that God has mercy on those we serve while providing us with all the resources they need in Jesus’ Name!