Here are a few photos shared by one of the attendees and long-time friends of SCM of our concert on Sunday evening.
The book Leaving Syria is now available to ship. You can call our office to order or come by to pick one up. We will also have them for sale at the May 20th fundraiser event, and Dr. Bill Dienst will be there to talk about the book and his experiences in Greece. All proceeds go to support SCM programs. To purchase online, follow this link: BUY BOOK
Tickets for the fundraiser are available so get yours now. There will be a traditional middle eastern dinner, silent auction, speakers, and music. Please join us! Tickets must be purchased in advance as there will be no ticket sales at the door. Click here to go to the ticket page.
Thank you for your continued support!
Many Americans have the mistaken notion that refugees arriving here in the US have had a free ride and will continue to get a free ride in their new homes. This could not be further from the truth.
The financial impact of being a refugee is devastating. Not only have they lost everything – home, savings, possessions – they arrive already with a debt hanging over their heads to the US Government. Yes, as refugees they can qualify for various kinds of assistance for no/low income families like healthcare, but that’s it. The resettlement agency is contracted by the US Government to work with the refugees and also to collect/process the payments made for the airline ticket loan.
The organization that is assigned to help them get resettled rents an apartment for about 3 months, then the refugee family is on their own to pay the rent and all the associated utility bills, and they have to pay back a loan for their airline tickets. The tickets usually average about $1200 – $1400 per person, so a family of 6 arrives with promissory note to pay for about $7200 – $8400. Keep in mind that they arrive with varying degrees of English proficiency, and a wide range of skills, but this doesn’t always guarantee a job right away, so paying this loan can become a burden, and if they don’t pay it on time, it can become a black mark on their credit report.
Many of the families resettled in our area are having a hard time with the financial aspect of being the US and they need help making ends meet as they get more settled and financially capable. Our goal is always to see them become fully independent and thriving in their new community, but the financial burden can be overwhelming to some, so we want to be able to help them make the monthly payment on their loan for their airline tickets. Payment amounts range from $50 a month to $200, depending on the size of the loan. Please help us to help them keep current on this payment, set up a recurring monthly donation to go towards this monthly obligation until they are able to make it on their own.
Below are two examples of the bills the refugee families receive monthly to pay for their airline tickets. These bills are for small families, 3-4 people, two adults and small children.
Today we got some great news that will be a huge help to our Solar Lantern campaign. LuminAID, the makers of environmentally friendly, long lasting solar lanterns, has offered to match lantern purchases made for SCM on their website AND a special price. This is incredibly generous and will help us to provide much needed lighting for the dark winter months.
For a limited time, LuminAID will MATCH your purchases of the PackLite 16 light when you buy on behalf of the Salaam Cultural Museum. This allows you to purchase twice as many lights and have them all sent to SCM. In order to take advantage of this offer, please visit the special webpage LuminAID has created for all the details and to place your order.
We will begin packing the lanterns we receive into suitcases going to Greece and Jordan as soon as we get them. The priority is Greece because lighting is limited in the camps.
We are happy to partner with LuminAID in providing safe, affordable lighting to the refugees. Not only are the lanterns addressing a safety issue (fires from gas lanterns) but as more children are enrolled in school now, the more they need to be able to study in the evenings after the sun has gone down.