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Update on Efforts to Support Immigrants, Refugees and Asylum-Seekers

Update on Ahaw Family:

When we entered into a partnership with New American Pathways in 2018, we had no idea what an amazing response we would receive from the congregation. The experience of raising funds, welcoming the Ahaw family after their long journey from Ethiopia, and our ongoing efforts to help them get acclimated to Atlanta has been extremely rewarding. Together we have accomplished so much:

  • Cleaned, furnished and set up their apartment
  • Greeted them upon arrival with smiling faces, warm hugs and culturally appropriate food
  • Tutored them in basic English 
  • Provided dental care
  • Took them shopping for groceries and to doctor’’s appointments 
  • Arranged phone and television service
  • Assisted with routine household tasks such as paying bills, using and maintaining appliances, cleaning, signing up for utilities 
  • Included them in social events during weekends and holidays

At this point, the older son, Mohammed, has a stable job in a poultry factory; daughter Hassna has been transferred to a kind and caring school where she is thriving; and younger son Ahaw continues to learn English and his other subjects at the local elementary school.

More help is needed!

 

Our work is far from done - and we are committed to continue supporting the Ahaw family over the next few years, to get them to a point where they can flourish independently. We need additional help from the congregation, in the form of service and funds. Specifically, we are asking for the following:

  • Want to donate money? We continue to need funds to support translation services, household items and repairs, and school supplies. Our goal is to raise $5,000. Click here and select “Refugee Resettlement Fund” from the dropdown menu. 
  • Want to work with the family? Transportation is currently the highest priority - for appointments with health providers, including speech therapy for Hassna. They also need help with daily household tasks to improve the family’s safety and health (such as teaching how to store food in covered containers, wash dishes after using them, vacuuming). Fill out this interest form and let us know how you’d like to be involved.  
  • Want to contribute to the broader refugee community? New American Pathways has an ongoing need for:

1. Adult diapers - sizes M/L and Youth. View a sample of a brand purchased in the past here.

2. Pro bono physical and/or occupational therapy sessions for adult refugees with non-acute needs. Medicaid only covers services for adults if there is an acute event (such as surgery or injury) within the last 90 days. NAP has clients with more chronic conditions like old knee or back injuries, post-polio syndrome, cerebral palsy, stroke recovery, and just plain arthritis. The clients don't necessarily need weekly therapy sessions, but a pro bono session here or there would give them a chance to learn exercises and techniques to build strength and improve functioning.

Click here and indicate your specific contribution on this interest form

Exploring Long-term Partnerships:

The United Nations has identified more than 25 million refugees worldwide—people who cannot return to their home countries for fear of persecution or other dangers. At the same time the U.S. has committed to resettle the lowest number of refugees in the forty years since the refugee resettlement program began. While we are proud of our work with the Ahaw family and New American Pathways, there are so many needs among the thousands of refugees in our community. There are organizations right here in Georgia doing incredible work - and we can be a partner in support of their efforts.

To that end, we are currently exploring a few ways in which we as a congregation can enter into long-term partnerships with an organization, in ways that will be helpful and allow us to develop relationships with immigrants and refugees. One effort we have begun to get involved with is New Sanctuary Movement of Atlanta.  New Sanctuary Movement is assisting us with forming a cluster with two local churches, Glenn Memorial UMC and Virginia-Highland Church, to help support refugees applying for asylum in the U.S. 

Our first joint effort took place on October 6, when volunteers from all three congregations gathered supplies and assembled 105 hygiene kits for the Tahirih Justice Center, which supports immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.

We hope to build on the cluster momentum to gather together to learn, advocate and work with and on behalf of immigrants and refugees. We who have the privilege of stability and safety have an opportunity to hold out our hands and assist those fleeing violence and poverty to build new, flourishing lives in Atlanta and the U.S. Let us know that you’re interested by clicking here and we’ll share news about upcoming ways you can get involved. 

There are big plans in the works -- and we’d love to have your help.

In gratitude,

Susan Baker 
Sandy Goodman Cohn 
Robin Deutsch Edwards
Dana Geller
Jennifer Hirsch 
Charlie Jaret
Sun, May 22 2022 21 Iyyar 5782