REFUGEE/ASYLEE EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:
RAN believes that some of the most important voices in refugee resettlement and integration are the voices of refugees themselves. Every Sunday since June 2016, with the support of All Souls Church Refugee Initiative Project, RAN has been conducting education and awareness outreach with DC area refugees and asylum seekers. We seek to elicit input and then take note of specific concerns from or about refugees and asylum seekers. Additionally, these outreach events raise awareness and mutually broaden understandings between the refugee community and the established local community. We meet Sundays at 12:45 PM after the second service.
In addition to education initiatives surrounding the greater refugee community, RAN seeks to better the situation of LGBT refugees as well. Greater dialogue between LGBT refugees and asylum seekers and established LGBT organizations must be encouraged. Human Rights Organizations with an LGBT focus have been active speaking out about the persecution of LGBT people at the international level (e.g.Gambia, Iran, Nigeria, Russia and Uganda,etc.). These same organizations, however, may be unaware that some LGBT people adversely affected abroad are now in the US as refugees or asylum seekers. Existing LGBT Organizations have an opportunity to develop more inclusive and responsive services, through which they can connect with LGBT refugees and asylum seekers in need of education, health, employment, housing and other essential services. If better bridges are built between refugee resettlement agencies and LGBT Organizations, LGBT refugees and asylum seekers will be more likely to receive the appropriate assistance and guidance, making their transition to life in the US more successful. RAN is actively working from its Washington, DC office to network with both national organizations and smaller, local LGBT community centers to realize the specific struggles that LGBT refugees face. Pilot community education and awareness activities are taking place in a select number of locations, such as: Grand Rapids (Michigan), Houston (Texas), Miami (Florida), Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania), and San Diego (California).
BALTIMORE COMPUTER COURSES FOR ADULTS:
With the support of members of the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, RAN was able to offer its first computer class in March 2016. 56 refugees from Burundi, Bhutan, Darfur, Nepal, and South Sudan participated to our computer program and learned things ranging from basic computer operation to more advanced web skills such as managing web sites and social media. Our course concluded September 2016, but we hope to offer another one soon. Like our page on Facebook and watch our website for updates!
LAS VEGAS COMPUTER COURSES FOR ADULTS:
With “Refugee Alliance Network – RAN” refugees have learned to take full advantage of their web – based email service. These courses cover all aspects of email, including attachments and contact management. Refugees use their own mail provider for most lessons. Using internet explorer, google chrome, and google search to teach how to more effectively use the world wide web. Refugees learn the basics but go beyond including setting up favorites and bookmarks, creating a bookmark bar, opening multiple tabs and adding extensions to the browser. They learn more techniques to more precisely find the information they want.
In our Las Vegas, Nevada office, refugees learn how to apply for jobs. Shortly after their arrival, all refugees are required to find paid employment before their temporary cash assistance (generally 1-3 months worth) runs out. We hold workshops where our volunteers help them polish their resumes, search for jobs online, and practice their interview skills.
INTERPRETATION AND TRANSLATION:
We are proud to work with Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and Ethiopian Community Development Council to help serve non-english speaking clients. Volunteers at our office are fluent in refugee languages such as Arabic, Spanish, Swahili, French, Lingala, Chiluba, Kimongo, Luganda, and more. We have interpreters available for appointments at varying hours to help with translating and explaining taxes, medical records, school information, and other documents refugee families may have. Additionally, interpreters are available to accompany refugees to medical appointments and other outings.