The United Nations High Commission on Refugees defines a refugee as individuals who have fled their countries of origin and meet the United Nations' criteria of having a "well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.
"They have no protection from their own state - indeed it is often their own government that is threatening to persecute them. If other countries do not let them in, and do not help them once they are in, then they may be condemning them to death - or to an intolerable life in the shadows."
-UN High Commission for Refugees
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops
The USCCB, in partnership with the US State Department, sends us refugees. These refugees arriving in the United States, after losing their homes, countries, livelihoods, families, friends, and at times even health, need help rebuilding their lives. The initial needs of the refugees are many: food, clothing, shelter, jobs, English language training, and help adjusting to a new culture.
Our primary goal for the refugees is to achieve self-sufficiency as soon as possible. After years in refugee camps depending on handouts from the UN, many of our refugees are anxious to provide for their families.
Services we provide:
* Finding and furnishing suitable housing
* Accessing and understanding medical care
* Enrollment in school
* Job training and skill development (including ESL)
* Assistance with employment by understanding the Erie county job market
Invitation of Support
The Refugee Resettlement Program receives limited assistance from the federal and state government. As a result, donations and volunteer efforts are essential to bringing self-sufficiency to hundreds of Erie's refugees.
Volunteering to support a newly-arrived family can provide an opportunity to experience new cultures and better understand the human strength and will to seek out a better life.
You can join the Refugee Resettlement Program's efforts by:
* Donating new or gently used household items
* Donating personal resources through volunteer work
* Supporting the refugees through monetary donations
For more information on how you can volunteer your time and talents, or to donate material goods: