Posts tagged refugee resettlement
Our Friends in Utica, New York

“We shouldn’t need reminding, but we do,” the paper said. “The reminder is that refugees and immigrants are what make our nation strong. 

”If you look closely at those refugees and immigrants, you’ll see some familiar faces. Your grandparents, perhaps. Or your great-grandparents.”

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M: I was on the bridge. I was going to see my cousin. Suddenly I hear a shot. That’s what’s happening—I mean it’s still happening in my country. The terrorist people shooting the new army, because they say the new army, they are lying with the American military, so we have to shoot you. There was a checkpoint in the street to make safety. I was on the bridge. I don’t have any place to run away. The checkpoint started to shoot random. So I get one of the shots.

I think other people they got shot too. But my lung it was safe. If my lung has hole, then I was gonna die. The lung would fill with water and blood and…” (He grabbed his throat.)

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Eight cylinders (and a baby)

I made my calls to Triple A and my garage, and then sat there thinking about a guy named John Slaiger, who was a pastor (now-retired) who lived and worked in South Providence. My wife and I used to (yes, a long time ago) bring groups of Brown students for immersion experiences in South Providence.  We’d sleep in the basement of John’s church and participate in various soup kitchens and building projects during the day.In the evenings we’d play cards and talk about what we were learning and John would always find a scrap of paper and teach us his “8-cylinder model” for understanding poverty.

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Zaid's story

This is part of what I love about working with refugees:it’s a daily reminder that we—our city, our country, and despite all our own problems—can still be a place of hope and refuge and opportunity for people who feel lucky to be alive.My feeling is that now is an important a time as any in our country’s history to be welcoming refugees—and for our own sake.We have a lot to learn from them.

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Two Introductions

 Saw Kay, a refugee originally from Myanmar (Burma), arrived in Providence about 4 months ago along with his wife and 5 children after spending years in a camp in Thailand. Saw and his wife Sa Nay are Karen—one of the ethnic minority groups who have been persecuted for years by Burma’s military government. Aside from one other family who arrived with them, they are—if you can imagine this!—the


speakers of a language called Karen Sgaw in the state of Rhode Island.

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Winner: "Best of Rhode Island" ( !!! )

For those of you who are not familiar with “The Best of Rhode Island” awards, when a restaurant wins “Best of Rhode Island” they make a banner and hang it outside their business all year long. Granted, Rhode Island is not a big state, but still…not too shabby. We’ll take it, wave our banner proudly – and hopefully see a boost in Granola of the Month subscriptions. 

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Our Newest Employees

     Thanks to those of you who keep encouraging us in this effort at mission-based business. We made 130 lbs last night, so now we’re stocked.  If you think you know an appropriate market for us, let us know.  We now sell 6 ounce “Go-Packs” and we’d be happy to send one as a sample if you’d make an introduction for us.  We’re jumping our way through the final few hoops that will allow us to set up shop at local farmer’s markets this summer—so with luck you’ll be meeting some our employees that way soon.

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Berita has a job

As I see it, the main thing we are teaching our employees in this project is confidence—confidence that they can learn new skills, that they can communicate across almost any language barrier, and that they can be a crucial part of a team. Our hope is that what Berita learned with us played some part in helping her interview for and get a job, and that it will make her upcoming transition more smooth and less frightening. We will miss her.

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The Providence Granola Project Mission: Giving International Refugees a Boost in the Job Market

Pictured here, mixing granola, is Evon Nano, a newly arrived refugee from Iraq. She has been in this country for 4 months. Keith works with her at the International Institute, which is a non-profit in Providence that assists with refugee resettlement. The Providence Granola Project was conceived as a way to give refugees a boost toward employability (and in the spirit of full disclosure, to make a little money).

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