Today, many refugees in the world are seeking for asylum. Those who have reached the UK, receive support from the British government. But this help can’t be given if the state refuses the declaration for asylum. In this situation, those refugees become homeless. As a result, the “Hosting” movement looks for people who agree to offer shelter to those homeless refugees, and welcome them into their house. This experience brought many good things to the refugee and also to the host.
Vahe was a human rights journalist in Armenia. His work challenged governmental corruption which he says made him the target of state authorities who arrested and imprisoned him many times in Armenia. He says that he was finally threatened and told that he had 48 hours to leave the country. Vahe ended up living with Donna William in England. He said : "I felt like I had come to a second home when I met Donna. She has been like a ray of sunshine for me that is helping me to grow again and have some hope back in my life. I had lost more than 16 kilos since I had been in the UK but at last I -am eating, sleeping and getting healthy again.” Reflecting on her experience with Vahe, Donna said: "Watching Vahe flourish and develop has been the best thing about this experience. I can see his confidence growing all the time. He has to keep himself busy because of what he has experienced, to keep himself active and to keep his mind occupied. It has not been easy for him.
In an other case, Arnold went to Nigeria to study law where he was arrested for writing an article in a student newspaper exposing corruption in the Nigerian government. "It was a bad time for me and I had a horrible feeling of being 'wanted'. I stayed with friends for a while but eventually became homeless and for many years I was sleeping in the streets or in hostels when I could find a bed... For a while, I was sleeping underneath some stairs near the offices of the Refugee Council in London. One day I was invited inside the offices and I told them my story.”
Kajsa Soderlund, Arnold's host, claims "After hearing this speech I contacted Refugees at Home, the organization that had found the speaker a place to live, and I registered to become a host. The organization told me about Arnold and we met for coffee to get to know each other. We got on well straight away and in the last week in February he moved in to my house. Arnold is such an inspiring person. I have learned a lot about African culture and history, and about the slave trade which I knew little about previously. I am an immigrant myself. I was born in Sweden but as an EU citizen I can move freely. It's so unfair that I have these rights but Arnold doesn't. It shows how unfair the world is when things are based on where we happened to be born - the 'accident of nationality' - over which we have no control. We are all people who are just trying to live a decent and safe life."
If you want a know more about it, and read more testimonies, you can visit this website!
On June 14th we went to the Burgess Urban Fund. "A night of witness, worship, and celebration". On this night, we celebrated the movement leadership across generations and welcomed the new Executive Director, Reverend Arrington Chambliss. click the link below to know more about it: http://www.episcopalcitymission.org/service-of-witness/?doing_wp_cron=1469109038.6034560203552246093750
Friday, 15th of July, WEE organized a lunch with the mamas and their children. Each one brought several foods from their country. Some dishes they prepared were rice, chicken and spicy spaghetti from Lebanon, bastilla from Morocco, tortillas from Mexico and cakes. After eating, we listened and danced with Moroccan and Libyan music. We all had a great time, and learned about each other. We hope we'll have another time together!
Immigration is not new in United States of America, in fact it is a way for people to begin a new life, and live the American dream. Moreover from the 17th to the 18th century (during the colonial period), there were many immigrants coming to America for many reasons: economic opportunity, slave trade and religious freedom.
In the first half of the 19th century a mass immigration happened from Europe (Ireland, Italia, etc.) to North America because of the Great Famine, industrialization and political instability. However life was very hard for most of the immigrants and way far from their expectation. First, as a stranger they had to integrate into their neighborhood; in fact, the majority preferred to live in area where people had the same origin as them. But they also had to find a job in order to feed themselves and their families. One of the worse things was to live with the anti-immigration movement. For example, racism (anti Catholic or Chinese violence), exclusion, xenophobia.
The President, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, causing immigrants to come to North America not by the requirement of their race or nationality, but through a visa system.
Today, thanks to immigration, the US is a country with many languages, diverse cultures and religions.
Currently, if you want to have a citizenship and you don’t have American parents, you can be sponsored by an employer, married to a US citizen, or be naturalized after 3 or 5 years of residence.
The integration is still difficult and this is why WEE is trying to help woman and their families who need help to speak English, gain access to education, and meet other women who are dealing with similar challenges. All of this is to help make their lives easier and better to be a part of the American society.
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