Unlike immigrants, refugees were driven out of their homes and forced to resettle in strange lands due to life-threatening circumstances. Upon arrival in America, refugees must not only adapt to a new life but also battle psychological, physical, and financial hardships. Government funded refugee resettlement organizations do the best they can to support and integrate a large number of refugees with very limited resources.
The Refugee Assistance Program offers refugees with limited funding that cuts off after 3 to 6 months of arrival. This assistance is minimal and not enough to completely cover basic necessities (food, utilities, rent, etc.). In addition, it does not support refugees long enough to adjust to their new lives, find employment, rebuild, and become self-sufficient.
Alone During Severe Times
Refugees are assigned a resettlement agency case manager tasked with assisting them through their integration journey. However, with limited funding and resources, these case managers are overburdened with large caseloads and are unable to provide sufficient individual attention. Throughout a refugee’s arduous struggle, establishing a bond and sincere relationship goes a long way. Simple acts like visiting the family, contacting them often, or teaching them a thing or two about American life makes the world of a difference to the lives of a struggling family.
Ultimately, the purpose of Amaanah is to make the refugee resettlement process fun, memorable, and life-changing for refugees and the communities in which they resettle. Using personal relationships as the foundation for all services, we hope to improve the resettlement system to one that produces individuals who are an inspiration to society and ambassadors of Amaanah.
Meet some of the Refugees Amaanah has worked with.
Ghadah moved to Houston with her daughter, Haneen, and two sons, Muhammad and Muscafa, after her husband was kidnapped and killed in 2003. He was a pilot in the army who worked and took care of everything for them in Iraq. Because of the war Ghadah decided to leave to create a better future for her kids.
Tee Mo and her husband moved to Houston in 2009, with their three-year- old daughter. They are originally from the Rakhine State, in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), a country in Asia. “We lived [there] a long time. My mother, my father, grandmother and grandfather they lived there forever. But the Burma Government, they killed all the people, and that’s why we cannot live there anymore
Basem Alhasan and his wife moved to Houston with their children in 2013. The Iraqi family fled to Syria in 2008 and spent 5 years waiting to be granted asylum. “He used to work at an American company in Iraq and [the militia] were telling him, ‘you need to leave Iraq before we kill your family and do a lot of bad stuff to you.’” His young daughter, Zahraa explained.