Activities | Living Without Borders
As US citizens who have been welcomed as volunteers in other countries around the world, we are keenly aware that human kindness can help to reduce the challenges of adjusting to life far from home. While serving as Peace Corps Volunteers, we were treated fairly, appreciated for our differences, and respected for the contributions we made. Similarly, we stand in support of just, compassionate, and respectful treatment of immigrants and refugees who come to the United States. Living Without Borders will focus on immigrant and refugee issues.
The responsibilities of the subcommittee are to:
- 1. Report monthly on issues, opportunities, and actions;
- 2. Communicate with members via the list-serve, newsletter, Facebook, and other media;
- 3. Communicate with partner organizations;
- 4. Obtain approval on all expenses and actions from the members and Board.
Our first action was a Welcome Box drive for the Lutheran Social Services (LSS) Refugee Resettlement Program, which resettles refugees in Madison. Six boxes of kitchen and bathroom supplies were donated to the office before Christmas 2011. Two were quickly used, for an Iraqi man and a Bhutanese family. The LSS Refugee Program continues to resettle refugees in Madison and has an ongoing need for household supplies (Welcome Boxes). Putting together a Welcome Box is a quick and easy way to make a difference in the lives of arriving refugees. If you are interested in doing so, please see the list of needed items, prepare a complete box and drop it off at the LSS Resettlement Office – contact info is on the attached document.
Our current action is to serve as a group mentor to refugee families. Madison is one of Wisconsin’s refugee resettlement sites, and currently receives primarily Bhutanese and Iraqi refugees. Most of the housing is in South Madison, in the area between South Park Street, Fish Hatchery Road, and Badger Road. LSS helps with resettlement by arranging for housing, helping families to complete school enrollment for their children, providing cultural orientation and employment services and referring refugees to ESL, and other vital services that help them adjust to their new home and move towards self-sufficiency.
We will develop new initiatives and opportunities to engage with the refugee and immigrant community. Watch for details on our Facebook page. Or ask for more information from the Living Without Borders Contact.
Catholic Multicultural Center.
Centro Hispano of Dane County.
Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Inc., Mohammed Ezzat, Community Resources Coordinator, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 322 E. Washington, Madison 53703, 608-250-2677, Mohammed Ezzat.
Madison Literacy Network.
Voces de la Frontera Wisconsin’s leading immigration rights group.
Wisconsin Network for Immigration and Refugee Rights (WNIRR): a listserv that focuses on advocacy issues, an adjunct of Voces de la Frontera.
Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice Our group is a member of the WNPJ.
Workers Rights Center (Centro de Derechos Laborales).
Bhutanese Refugees: This website beautifully outlines the timeline, the issues, and the voices of the refugees.
InterPress Service News Agency: A 2005 on-the-ground news report on the situation with the monarchy in Nepal and its effect on the refugee community (and you can search the InterPress Service website for more current news on the situation).
Lausanne Global Conversation: A collection of online resources related to the Bhutanese-Nepalis.
The Madison Sewing Machine Project: This nonprofit works specifically with the Bhutanese refugees.
“Unbecoming Citizens”: This book by Michael Hutt is considered ‘must-read’ for tourists to Bhutan.
YouTube: This 2009 seven-minute video from the UNHCR outlines the “current” refugee situation, and has many images of the refugee camps in Nepal.