Whom are we resettling?

Catholic Charities Counseling and Adoption Services resettles approximately 200 - 300 new refugees each year.  For the past few years the majority of the refugees that we have resettled here are......


Somalis (& Somali Bantus), 




To learn more about any of these refugee populations, we would encourage you to visit the Cultural Orientation Resource Center - Center for Applied Linguistics website.     


Here is a brief overview of the refugee populations that we have helped to resettle here in Erie:



Many people are confused as to how to correctly identify or name this group of people. They refer to themselves as "Bhutanese" because the country that many of them grew up in, and for which they have fond memories and national pride, is Bhutan.  Ethnically, they are of Nepali descent. An analogy would be Irish-Americans or Italian-Americans. While each of these groups may have ethnic/cultural ties to Ireland or Italy, almost anyone in these groups would identify him/herself as "American".    While the Bhutanese have ethnic/cultural ties to Nepal (and they actually lived much of their past 10-20 years in a refugee camp in Nepal), they refer to themselves as "Bhutanese".   And soon, they will refer to themselves as "Americans"!

To learn more about the Bhutanese people. their history, or their culture CLICK HERE



Many Somalis were displaced as a result of the country's civil war which erupted in the early 1990's.  At this time there are estimates that 1 million Somalis are living outside of the country and somewhere between 1.3 - 1.5 million more Somalis are displaced within their own country.

Adding to the harsh conditions resulting from the civil war, was a severe drought and famine that affected the country and its people.  While the drought and famine conditions have largely diminished now, the effects are still being felt inside the country and in the surrounding countries as well.  Many Somalis are reluctant or outwardly refuse to return to a country with so much uncertainty.  

Short (9-min) video clip on working with Somali youth:  CLICK HERE

Short (24-min) video clip on adjustment issues faced by Somalis:  CLICK HERE


Somali Bantus

NOTE:   It is very important to understand the difference between Somalis and Somali Bantus.   Somali Bantus have been subjected to much persecution, discrimination and torture from other Somalis and thus the two groups are viewed as two distinct cultural groups.  The United Nations moved them into separate refugee camps as a result of their fighting and abusive relationships when located together in camps.

To understand more about the Somali Bantus and their history, please read:  The Somali Bantus



The Gulf Wars, and the ensuing chaos that occurred following the fall of Sadam Hussein, resulted in the displacement of nearly 4 million Iraqi citizens.  Many of those Iraqis were able to resettle in nearby countries such as Syria and Jordan, but also Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Turkey.

Most of the Iraqis who are resettling to the United States do so because either they can not, or will not, return to Iraq or because the country where they currently live will not allow for integration there.  

To learn more about the Iraqi people. their history, or their culture,  CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLES OR SHORT VIDEO CLIPS



The Burmese refugees are ethnic minorities who have been persecuted and attacked by the military regime running the country for decades.  

To learn more about the Burmese people. their history, or their culture CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLES OR SHORT VIDEO CLIPS