Afghan UpdateOctober 01, 2021
At this time, information provided to NCDHHS by the federal Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) shows that North Carolina has the capacity to welcome 1,169 Afghan refugees into six communities - Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, New Bern and Raleigh. These communities all have at least one of the state’s 10 resettlement agencies and thus have experience in providing welcome and supportive services to newcomers.
Being included in this initial list does not imply that Afghan refugees will be resettled in New Bern or Craven County, but instead is a statement of potential capacity. At this time, Interfaith Refugee Ministry (IRM) has worked with their national partner (Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM)) to evaluate the capacity of the community to serve as a resettlement site for Afghans. They found some key challenges, including limited housing, lack of an established Afghan community, and no access to local interpreters in Dari or Pashto.
While New Bern is included as a potential resettlement site for our Afghan Allies, due to the above-mentioned challenges it is not highly likely to receive any of these families. That said, if there are any Afghan arrivals who identify a friend or relative in the area, called a U.S. tie, the family or individual may be placed here. IRM has the capacity to resettle US tie cases and is ready to accept them and provide the same high level of services and welcome as they do for the 100s of other refugees they have supported over the years.
Latest Information on Afghan ArrivalsAugust 31, 2021
We do not know yet if we will be resettling anyone from Afghanistan. The situation is being described as “fluid”.
- Individuals are receiving security checks before arriving from Afghanistan.
- Individuals are being processed at the military bases for medical and Employment Authorization Documents (EADs). New bases are being opened to assist with the high volume of arrivals. Resettlement agencies are serving the individuals as parolees or Special Immigrant Visas (SIVs) depending on status.
- Individuals who are in the process of receiving SIV status will be processed as such.
- Individuals who were not eligible for SIV status - women and children, advocates, journalists, outspoken anti-Taliban, will be parolees and they will not get Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) benefits for congressional/legal reasons.
- This is a private/public initiative and we need help for legal, housing, groceries, baby supplies, transportation, etc.
Learn more about refugees for World Refugee Day 2021May 21, 2021
As World Refugee Day 2021 approaches (June 20), our national office, Episcopal Migration Ministries is offering these opportunities to learn more about refugees.
The EMM 2020 Annual Report is available here.
2021 marks the 41st anniversary of the 1980 Refugee Act, landmark legislation that provided humanitarian protection to displaced populations fleeing persecution. The Refugee Act established the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, that now partners with nine non-governmental organizations including Episcopal Migration Ministries to resettle refugees in communities across the United States. In addition to this partnership between the U.S. government and civil society organizations, new organizations such as Welcoming America have emerged across the United States to help communities and their political, business, and faith leaders to assist with the integration of refugees and immigrants. Although these efforts have strengthened the reception of refugees across the United States, the work continues to refine ways to receive new populations to assist with integration in their new homes.
Join EMM for our World Refugee Day offerings! In addition to webinars, a panel discussion, and a virtual prayer vigil, we are also offering EMM logo apparel/tote bag, and a special edition World Refugee Day t-shirt with design by Artist Ammar Alobaidi, a former refugee from Baghdad who lives in his adopted city of Houston, Texas. Purchase here!
June 1 - Webinar on refugee reception process
In order to help the Episcopal Church’s community learn more about the refugee reception process, Episcopal Migration Ministries and The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations are hosting a webinar on Tuesday, June 1, from 4:00 to 5:00 ET. The event will feature the following experts:
- Jessica Darrow, Assistant Instructional Professor, the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, the University of Chicago
- Drocella Mugorewera, Executive Director of Bridge Refugee Services Inc. and Refugee Congress Delegate
- Rachel Peric, Executive Director, Welcoming America
The event will have a moderated panel discussion followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. Register here
for the event.
June 10 - Webinar on Rebuilding
Join EMM on Thursday, June 10 at 4PM ET for a webinar panel discussion highlighting the work to rebuild the refugee resettlement program, perspectives from different faith traditions and practitioners, and the role of community support in providing welcome and integration to newly arrived refugees. The 90-minute webinar will include a moderated panel discussion, followed by a question and answer session, with the following guests:
- The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
- Demetrio Alvero, Director of Operations for Episcopal Migration Ministries
- Heval Kelli, Cardiologist, co-founder and president of the Kurdish American Medical Association, and former refugee
- Nancy Izzo Jackson, Senior Bureau Official, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Registration is required. Register here
Virtual Prayer Vigil
EMM will host a virtual prayer vigil for World Refugee Day on Sunday, June 20, 7:00 – 8:00 pm EST. The prayer vigil, broadcast on EMM’s Facebook, will offer a time of prayer, reflection, and celebration in honor of refugees worldwide. A downloadable vigil order of service will be available prior to the event.
The Work of Your Church
EMM will host a special webinar highlighting the vital refugee work of Episcopal Migration Ministries will feature artist and iconographer Kelly Latimore in conversation with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. Sunday, June 23, 6:00 EST.
COVID-19 UpdateMarch 25, 2021
Nearly a year later from our first COVID-19 post we continue to reframe and refine our responses. Providing food from generous donors, masks, sanitizing items, and information have all been a part of this year’s work. Our fundamental mission hasn’t changed: to help refugees rebuild their lives in eastern North Carolina.
Throughout the past year, keeping our clients informed of changing requirements and regulations has remained a vital task. Now we are not only emphasizing prevention through personal actions like masking but also disseminating information about the vaccines. As many of you know, there is a great deal of misinformation. With the schools, employers, and community groups we are working to dispel the myths and put factual information into the hands of our clients in their language. We are heartened to see how many are being thoughtful about the vaccine and how many want to know the facts. The local Karen Community Center has made a video with a doctor discussing the vaccine in Karen and English. You can access that video here.
The CDC web site has much information in a wealth of languages: https://nrcrim.org/vaccines/vaccine-central#Quick
Although we have suspended in-person meetings and walk-in hours, our work continues. We have learned to Zoom and have helped improve the digital literacy of many of our clients who now regularly attend English classes, job readiness classes, and cultural adjustment classes remotely.
IRM remains committed to helping refugees reach and sustain financial, emotional and social self-sufficiency, and to achieve successful integration into our community. Thank you for your financial support, purchase of needed items, and prayers.
Remote Shopping for InterfaithSeptember 27, 2020
This has been a strange year for all of us including Interfaith Refugee Ministry. We had received only 7 arrivals up until mid-August. Then we received 14 individuals within one week. We have since received 7 more refugees and are expecting another 7 by the end of September. This will give us a total of 35 people for the fiscal year which ends September 30. In other years our average number was around 170.
We are blessed to be able to serve those who have arrived both this year and in years past. COVID-19 has meant that we are taking all recommended precautions in regard to interacting with donors, volunteers and our clients. It has also meant we had stopped taking donations because we were not willing to expose volunteers or staff to the possibility of contracting the virus. Now we are low on various supplies. In particular, we need twin, full and queen sheets and towels.
An easy way to provide these to us is to order them from our AmazonSmile wish list called Household Items. You can order an item and have it sent directly to our office. Ordering from AmazonSmile means that Amazon will donate a portion of the sale price to Interfaith. We hope you will take the opportunity to help us in this way. Of course, if you are in the New Bern area, you are most welcome to drop items off at our office at 1913 Trent Blvd.
Here is the link: AmazonSmile
Thank you and God bless you.
Washington Post: United States Abandoning RefugeesAugust 12, 2020
Under the five presidents preceding President Trump, the United States admitted more refugees than the rest of the world, securing its legacy as a haven for the vulnerable. Now, a series of executive orders, regulations and proclamations have made it impossible for U.S. refugee and asylum officers to offer protection to those in need.
Read the full article here.
Refugee School Impact ProgramJuly 07, 2020
The goal of the Refugee School Impact Program Summer Camp is to improve refugee students' language, literacy and social skills through tutoring sessions with teachers. This year, we are facing unusual circumstances as a result of the pandemic. Providing opportunities for our students is vitally important to us, so we had a virtual camp utilizing the online platforms Zoom and Seesaw to help deliver live instruction.
Students were given hands-on materials and school supplies that they used during the two weeks of virtual instruction. Students also received snack bags that included breakfast and snack items for each day. Our students improved their English language skills through science and social studies topics. Learning embedded within a cross-cultural learning community can empower refugee students to engage in science and social studies topics in a meaningful way. They made their own videos, conducted experiments, created art projects and used English to explain their thinking.
We had a great summer camp and are always planning ways to help meet the needs of our families! To see more about our program, please follow us on Facebook @newbernRSI.
IRM Response to COVID-19June 29, 2020
As we adapt our work to the current pandemic, our mission remains the same: to help refugees rebuild their lives in eastern North Carolina through assistance with initial housing, transportation, employment, school enrollment, cultural orientation and English language instruction.
It is part of our duty to help keep the refugee community informed at all times. We are collaborating with local partners, including the school system, employers and healthcare providers, to ensure that accurate information about resources and events reaches those affected by this crisis.
Although we have suspended in-person meetings and walk-in hours, our work continues.
IRM remains committed to helping refugees reach and sustain financial, emotional and social self-sufficiency, and to achieve successful integration into our community.
World Refugee Day (June 20)June 16, 2020
World Refugee Day has always been a moment to recognize the contributions and successes of refugees from around the world.
As we prepare to celebrate World Refugee Day in the midst of a global pandemic, Interfaith Refugee Ministry is particularly grateful for the courage and resilience of refugees in the United States who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.
Read more about how refugees are helping out.