Episcopal Refugee Network of San Diego

To provide assistance to refugees in San Diego County who have been forced from their homeland by racial, economic and religious persecution, and who have needs beyond those that government funded resettlement agencies can provide, in order to help them to be self sufficient, productive community members.
Aug 5, 2015

That all-important list

Always popular
Always popular

"We never get to eat bananas," the six-year old commented, looking longingly at the 29 skins discarded along the pathway the children had been using.

His mother held one banana saved for her husband, who was sick.  A fleeting smile slid across her face as the children checked once again, that there were no more hiding among the bags of school clothes they had carried in to the house, from the volunteer's car. 

"Let's see what fits," the mother suggested, and the fashion parade began.

As each child modelled a different outfit, the volunteer made herself a note, " Needs regular food delivery - add to list." That was a critical turning point for the family.

Today, ten years later, the three youngest of those seven children are now in jumior high, or high school school.  The four oldest have all graduated. Three of those four have gone on to a Community College, where one became a star football player and hopes to transfer to a university. The youngest of the four received a scholarship because of her excellent grades at high school, and is already doing well at university. 

The list is still in effect, changing from time to time as a family gains more work hours, or another  runs into a major difficulty. As one of its activities, every month the Network now delivers up to 2,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables on each of eight days, to the homes of the most needy of our families. Each family on the list receives two deliveries per month, with particular ethnic groups targeted on each day. This allows us to collect food that is acceptable to each group and to introduce new foods from time to time. It also allows us to add eggs and milk and  provide household necessities; or to look at letters that need translating; or set up appointments those letters require, and provide transport and translation. This is often among the earliest steps towards self-sufficiency.

Your donations keep our truck on the road, and provide more of our most needy families with nutritious food.  Together we are building more healthy refugee families and more children alert and ready to learn.

May 1, 2015

Both a New Language and a New Optimism Needed

One of our Sudanese Outreach Workers
One of our Sudanese Outreach Workers

 

"There are no services for me here?"  These were the words she would have cried out, if she had known enough English.  "Here is the name of a doctor in San Diego.  They have many more services there" , the doctor continued.

The young Sudanese lady was in her early twenties, and  she was eager to learn and to become part of the community, but she was too old for high school and would need considerable help with learning skills.   In her country of birth, she would have been kept secretly at home, and it seemed that she had met an insurmountable barrier to escaping from a similar fate in her new home.    But her mother was determined to give her daughter every chance of learning and developing her skills, and was eventually able to earn enough to pay their fares to San Diego.

Now mother and daughter needed to build a new life, but with no support system.  That is why they were referred to our organization.  They had to have both transportation and translation to be able to visit the 5 locations involved in having the daughter approved for assistance.   There were multiple visits, fees to be paid and many forms to execute. Without our outreach worker, there was no way they could navigate the system.   It took 4 weeks to complete the application process and another long wait for approval, but what a joy to see someone reaching her goal.  What an inspiration the mother was in being willing to step out into the unknown in order to give her daughter a chance.

Barely a week later a young Karen woman in her twenties and with similar learning challenges, arrived directly to San Diego.  Our Karen-speaking outreach worker set about guiding her through the same maze of offices and provided the translation, transport and encouragement that brought opportunities for the daughter and satisfaction to her family members.  

Your help in providing funds to support services like these brings about miracles, not only for the individuals but for the communities in which they live.   Because so many of our clients come directly from war torn countries, you create transformations that provide hope and orientation to a future in which each can contribute.  That is awesome! 

Please remember to tell your friends and relatives about The Refugee Network of San Diego, now commonly referred to as "RefugeeNet".   We would like your friends to be our friends.   

         

One of our Karen Outreach Workers
One of our Karen Outreach Workers
Jan 13, 2015

An unexpected honor

Darfuri refugee
Darfuri refugee

We are thrilled to be able to report that our project, "Bridge to Self-Reliance, 2000 refugees in San Diego, CA." has been chosen as Global Giving's Project of the Month for January, 2015.  It is a great honor to be recognized in this way, for our work with refugees, with needs both basic and complex.  This could not have happened without your help in bringing us into the lime-light.  You showed you believed in the value of what we were doing, by your spectacular support in two end of year campaigns.  That was tremendous.

In November and December we received 10 new families from Southern Sudan, Bhutan, Myanmar and Darfur. Half of those families are large, so our stock of donated blankets, sheets, large cooking pots and school clothes flew off the shelves. More have been requested, and continue to arrive.

At our Board retreat in early February,  what a boost of energy we will receive from the funding that the Project of the Month Club raises for us in January in addition to the over $4,000 you provided in end-of-year donations.  These two sources will make it possible for us to plan to serve many more this year, who need a hand-up and encouragement.  What a wonderful way to start a New Year!

Bhutanese refugee and her granddaughter
Bhutanese refugee and her granddaughter
Karen mother and child
Karen mother and child
Refugees from South Sudan
Refugees from South Sudan
Board meeting with staff
Board meeting with staff
 
   

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