Refugees and asylum-seekers come from some of the most awful situations facing humanity around the globe: war, persecution, famine, political upheaval, and dictatorships that endorse ethnic cleansing and genocide.
Many of our refugees spent years in UN refugee camps or urban centers under UN protectorship in bordering countries after fleeing from their home country. Most were forced to leave their possessions behind, and are now facing a situation where they have to start over again from nothing in a new country. These refugees face a tough road ahead of them. They will need to secure and furnish an apartment, learn a new language, enroll their children in school, open a bank account, learn the transportation system, and try to find employment. And these are only the first steps. At VOR, we assist refugees so they do not have to face these challenges alone.
Refugees that arrive to the United States are invited by our government to spend the rest of their lives here. They receive a Social Security number upon arrival and have the right to work immediately. In contrast, asylum seekers are not granted the right to work until 6 months to a year after their asylum application which many do not apply for immediately. Many do not understand the consequences of delaying their asylum application.
Voice of Refugees is specifically positioned to assist refugees and asylum-seekers from Middle Eastern and North African countries, as well as Iran, Iran, Afghanistan, and a few other countries that, though not regarded as Middle Eastern, fit the cultural demographic that we assist. We frequently help bridge language gaps, from Arabic, Dari, Pashto, and Farsi to English.
The policies that govern who enters the United States are well beyond our purview. Our goal is to welcome all with the love of Jesus who enter the United States. There is no distinction made when it comes to who we will assist as they re-establish their lives in the U.S.—Muslim, Christian, Yazidi—all need loving assistance.
The top three declared needs for refugees are employment, transportation, and language skills:
Employment assistance includes resume development, mock interviews, search job leads, and networking to secure job leads that help them achieve success in the U.S.
Transportation assistance involves preparing for written and driving tests, navigating the bus system, or providing rides to a medical or social service processing appointment.
Language skills are acquired through ESL (English as Second Language) classes, Conversation English Groups or friendship with a conversation partner. Each of these solutions is dependent on the level of English they currently possess.
We offer ‘care’ management, which traditionally would be called case management. Through caring relationships, we assistance families connecting with and navigating U.S. medical, school, govermental, insurance, and many other systems that are different from their homeland,
Beyond these top three declared needs there are a host of other physical, social and material needs such as: food, furniture, computer skills, and a community to belong to. From our experience, we are keenly aware of the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical toll that re-establishment in the United States requires of each refugee and asylum seeking families.