The Refugee Resettlement program is part of the International Institute of Rhode Island. Our mission is to enable all area residents, especially immigrants and refugees, to become self-reliant, invested participants in our communities, while fostering respect and understanding among all people.
This blog is a means of communication between IIRI and those who are interested in volunteering or helping out with events related to refugee resettlement in Rhode Island. It is also a means of sharing news and stories pertinant to refugees and refugee resettlement.
The following email has circulated around the office, and I figured that I would reach out to the Tumblr community. If you or anyone you know is from Rhode Island and is an immigrant or refugee, share your story! Just send us a message :)
I wanted to reach out to all of you because for the Welcoming RI project we are looking for local immigrants and refugees in RI.
The project involves a pair of 2 Providence College Global studies students interviewing each immigrant/refugee and producing a final story that will be displayed at IIRI along with a portrait canvas photo. The interview will most likely occurring at the beginning of October for 1-2 hours and there will be an opening reception to introduce each immigrant/refugee and their story.
We’re hoping to interview a total of 16 individuals for the project from diverse countries of origin, gender, age, geographic location in RI, and sectors (health, education, business, etc).
National Welcoming Week
September 15th-22nd, 2012
During the week of September 15th, 2012,Welcoming Rhode Island will join 22 other Welcoming America affiliates and partners across the country to participate in National Welcoming Week, a nationwide event that will promote meaningful connections and a spirit of unity between U.S. and foreign-born Americans by providing opportunities to learn about each other and work together for the greater good. Across the country, longtime residents and their new immigrant neighbors will join together during National Welcoming Week to take part in local community events, organized by Welcoming America’s affiliates and other national and local corporate partners, foundations, small businesses and residents of the community.
Throughout the week, Welcoming America’s affiliates will organize local activities that range from arts and culture events to joint service projects, all designed to lift up the positive messages and visibility of National Welcoming Week.
Join Welcoming Rhode Island at our events!
“My Story, Our Community” Art Exhibit
Thursday, September 20, 2012 @ 5-9pm @ Atrium Gallery
35th Rhode Island Heritage Festival
Saturday, September 22, 2012 @ 12-6pm @ Roger Williams Memorial Park
A little while ago, I mentioned that the International Institute will be merging with Dorcas place this coming December. This is going to be a fabulous opportunity for both organizations, as it will increase the resources for both. Our education and work training departments will become much stronger, and better able to service the population of Rhode Island.
Today, some of us from IIRI went to Dorcas Place for a tour. We learned about the many services they provide. Here is just a brief summary:
Rhode Island (specifically Providence) has the highest Liberian population in America.
Liberia, a West African country about the size of Tennessee, wasn’t colonized until 1822. What makes Liberia different from any other country in Africa—or any other country in the world, really—is the fact that its first foreign settlers were freed American slaves. The settlement was the brainchild of the American Colonization Society—an organization working to “repatriate” African-American slaves to Africa. That first colony of former slaves was built on a 36-mile-long and 3-mile-wide strip of land that the ACP purchased—most say forcefully—from a group of local tribes. In 1824, the colony was named Liberia, after the Latin word for liberty, and the capital was named Monrovia, after President James Monroe.
As the colony flourished, more and more American states started shipping freed slaves back across the Atlantic. In 1847, the Americo-Liberians voted in favor of independence. Not surprisingly, Americo-Liberian culture was deeply rooted in the antebellum American South, and a stark split formed between the Americo-Liberian colonizers and the Africans who had been there all along. In a bizarre version of the conditions they’d left behind, Americo-Liberians acted as the master-class over local tribes they forced into slavery. For over a hundred years, Liberia was ruled by a small number of families whose ancestors had been on that first ship back to Africa in 1822. In Africa, Liberia was known as “Petite America.” Then, in 1980, an African named Samuel Doe murdered the President in a military coup. From 1980 until 2003, Liberia was in a state of virtually continuous violence, resulting in over 200,000 Liberian deaths. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the country, many of them to America, and many of those to Rhode Island.
With an estimated 15,000 Liberian residents, Rhode Island has the highest percentage of Liberians of any state in the country. Though Liberians only make up 0.4 percent of Providence’s population, Providence maintains one of the three largest Liberian immigrant communities in America.
Rhode Island is a small state. Rhode Island reminds us of Liberia. Liberia is just a little larger than Rhode Island.” Elaine Traub, Liberian nurse.
“I can drive from here, two blocks, and meet another Liberian, and go downtown, and wherever I go, I will meet Liberians.” Eleanor Gaye, Liberian restaurant owner.
Rhode Island (specifically Providence) has the highest Liberian population in America.
Thank you for following this blog. :)
Here is a little recap of the work we do here in the Refugee Resettlement Dept at the International Institute of RI:
Cultural Orientation occurs while the refugees are still at the refugee camps. This work prepares refugees for their resettlement and for the work that we will do once they get here.
Once the refugees get here, we have a Reception and Placement team, which greets the new families into America and helps orient them to their new home.
Next comes Health Advocacy, which ensures that the refugees receive the best preventative and emergency health care, if needed.
Once refugees are settled in, receiving good health care, and have basic cultural orientation, they begin work with our Education Department.
Last but certainly not least, we prepare refugees for jobs in the workplace. Our Job Training and Employment services provide the information and training necessary for refugees to become productive and self-sufficient members of society!
Refugee Resettlement is not about holding people’s hands, chauffeuring them around, and providing for all their needs. We wish to give these wonderful people the tools they need to become independent American residents. The passionate people who work here do everything in their power to help “all area residents, especially immigrants and refugees, to become self-reliant, invested participants in our communities, while fostering respect and understanding among all people.” (Taken from our mission statement)
Hello everyone! Right now we are selling international cookbooks to benefit the Refugee Resettlement Dept of IIRI.
We got together the favorite recipes of our refugees, along with pictures of the dishes and information on each country from which they came.
The cookbook is organized by continent and country, giving a little information about each and featuring recipes from countries like Burma, Nepal, Bhutan, Iran, and many others!
Only costs $10
If interested, send me a message on here! Thanks :)
As you can tell from my bombardment of messages about it, today is World Refugee Day!
Join our celebration at Renaissance Church on Reservoir Ave in Providence (behind the Popeyes Chicken). Event runs from 5-730pm.
It’s a free event! featuring food, song, and dance, prepared by our many wonderful refugees!
This article is definitely worth a read! Especially if you are interested in healthcare issues. The first part shares some stories from the Odari family, and the second part is specifically about the Refugee Health Clinic and how we at IIRI work with the clinic! :)
“From refugees, doctors gain a new perspective,” by Karen Lee Ziner, Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE— Nar Odari, a refugee from Bhutan, told the doctors that she missed her cows, her orange grove and her cardamom plants.
Her son, Abi Odari, talked about the religious persecution they experienced as Hindis in a predominantly Buddhist country, which led them to a refugee camp in Nepal. And as he spoke of collisions with the new, such as when he opened an exit door “and the whole building sounded with alarms.” Or how he struggled for words as he searched the supermarket for goat meat and spices.
As part of Refugee Health Week at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, 65 residents spent “heart-and-soul” time listening to these and other stories from people who’d fled war or persecution or natural disasters in their home countries.
One resident, Dr. Michelle McCloskey, was nearly moved to tears when a refugee from Burma described being grabbed out of church by soldiers who forced him to carry their supplies. Eventually, the young man escaped one night when soldiers had been drinking.
Tomorrow (June 20th) is WORLD REFUGEE DAY! :D
Music, food, activities, and more! and it’s FREE
Celebrating refugees who have come a long way and have made Rhode Island their new home.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
77 Reservoir Avenue Providence, RI 02907 (behind Popeye’s Chicken)