In 1998 one hundred Lost Boys of the Sudan arrived as refugees in San Diego. They were young men who had suffered many dangers and privations on their long walks to refugee camps. For them, the struggle to adapt to a new and very structured society was often more traumatic than it was for those who came as part of a family. The Network provided them with household necessities and guidance and support for several years, as they gained skills and overcame their fears and traumas. In the current year we are expecting a group of young men who escaped throught the jungle and by boat, from Myanmar to refugee camps in Malaysia, where they have been for more than 10 years . They speak Chin.
As very few Chin speakers currently live in San Diego, and of those only two speak English, translation will be a challenge. Jobs are beginning to be very hard to find, and we foresee that, like the Lost Boys, these men will also need more of our help than the other newcomers who are also expected.
The Network is holding a gala on a Victorian Ferry Boat that is part of the San Diego Maritime Museum, on May 5th, with exotic food, and entertainment by Sudanese refugee singers and drummers, and by young Karen refugee dancers. We hope to raise enough money to cover the salaries of some of our 5 refugee employees who speak many of the languages we need, to serve our rapidly diversifying clientele. There is a short video about this event on our website at www.episcopalrefugeenetwork.org. If you happen to be in the area you would be most welcome.