SCM is working with locally resettled Syrian and Afghani refugees to help them adjust to their new homes in the Washington state. We have been providing resources, activities, and some financial assistance to help them adjust and get on their feet and become self supporting.
Many people don’t realize the path a refugee takes to get to the US. When they apply for asylum, that is a process that begins at the UN level. They go through an extensive application and screening process, then the UN finds a country to host the refugees. If the US agrees to take them, they go through further screening and extreme vetting which includes bio-metric and health scans, interviews by various US intelligence and security agencies, background checks and cross checks, more interviews, and then, possibly after a process of 18 – 24 months, they are told if they are accepted to come to the US or not.
To travel to the US, an agency contracted with the US government purchases airline tickets for the family on the basis that the money will be repaid to that agency – they sign a promissory note for whatever the cost of the tickets is. If you can imagine, a family of 6 – 8 people whose tickets were about $1200 – $1400 each, saddles the family with a debt immediately upon their arrival in the US. The agency rents an apartment for them, and may provide some assistance for about 3 months, then the families are expected to make it on their own. The adults are expected to find work right away, and the children begin attending school.
SCM has been helping to pick up where the resettlement agencies have left off. We have been providing resources, some financial assistance, and activities. We have provided English lessons for the adults and Arabic grammar and writing for the children, information on navigating in the community, how to do things like ride public transportation, pay bills, and just get everyday things done that are different than what they did at home.
UPDATE – MARCH 2020
Over the years, WA state has become home to many refugees from Syria and Afghanistan. They have moved into their new communities, learned or vastly improved upon their English language skills, found jobs, enrolled in school and started new families. SCM has been helping them get started by collecting a distributing donated furniture and household goods (as they arrive to a new apartment with only their suitcases), helping them learn to get around in their new community, enjoy activities and make new friends. And most have been thriving, even to the extent of buying a home and starting a new business.
Now, amid the coronavirus outbreak in our state and across the nation, we are seeing so many of the refugee families lose their income and find themselves unable to buy food or pay rent. We need your help to help them weather this storm of economic uncertainty and loss caused by the COVID19 pandemic. We work with over 240 refugee families in the Puget Sound area, Spokane, and the Tri-Cities.
- $100: will help feed a family of five for one week
- $250: will help support a family of five with food and other basic needs (baby care items (diapers, baby formula, etc.), medical & hygiene products and more) for a week
- $500: will help support two families for a week
- $750: will help support three families for a week
- $1,000: will help support four families for a week
- $5,000: will help support 20 families for a week or five families for a whole month
Any amount will help put food on their tables and make sure they have necessary supplies to make it through this unprecedented time in our country. They came here hoping for safety and new lives away from violence and war, they have worked so hard to become comfortable in their new homes and lives, and now they find themselves struggling once again just to get by day to day.