-Brandon S. Johnson-
The official definition of a refugee is: “A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster”. Most of us will never fully grasp what it means to come from a situation like that and then have to make a new life for both ourselves and our families in an unfamiliar land. According to nilesisters.org, however, as of 2016 there are 21.3 million are refugees worldwide who are trying to do just that. Since 2001, Nile Sisters has been educating, supporting and offering training to refugee and immigrant women and their families to help them overcome the numerous barriers to achieve social and economic self-reliance.
On August 6th in the home of Chair Bruce M. Abrams, Esq., A group of supportive men and women from different sectors came together to support and raise funds for Nile Sisters’s newest passion project, a health school. “We want to open a school to train refugees, low income individuals, anyone who would like to pursue a career in health care,” says Founder and CEO Elizabeth Lou, who’s personal story as a refugee has inspired her to provide opportunities to women who share in her history. This school, which will be in City Heights, will provide skills, training and support to these women and help them get on their feet financially and be able to support their families and contribute to the economy of their community and society at large.
While this event was specifically purposed to raise funds for this new school, they also wanted to honor Congresswoman Susan Davis, who has been an advocate for new Americans for over 40 years. She has assisted in refugee-led organizations, established a community center in City Heights and demonstrated her support for newcomers by providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services to them help them thrive. “She’s done a lot in our community. As a refugee and refugee service provider I want to make sure she knows how much we appreciate her,” Lou says.
Along with acknowledgements and remarks from community members, attendees were treated to refreshments and beautiful rendition of “His Eye is on the Sparrow” by refugee and former trafficking victim, Buki Domingos.
Organizations like this are powerful resources and provide what is needed most to those displaced people in need. Programs to get ahead, education and most importantly support.