Advocating for Refugees - Church World Service
"Church World Service Exists because they recognize that human rights are violated in countries where these people are fleeing from, so I would say human rights activism is a core value of Church World Service." Since 1946, this refugee resettlement organization has been working earnestly in partnership with community partners and volunteers to welcome more than 80,000 refugees across the country including more than 200 refugees to the Triangle each year.
Sarah Ferguson, the refugee activities coordinator working with Church World Service through AmeriCorps shares some of the reasons why they are leaving the country and immigrating to the US. "I know for Burma its persecution in the form of religion, I think the majority of people from Iraq, its a war-torn country now, there's a lot of desperation. For the Congo, same kind of thing, just the hope for a better life." Church World Service recognizes that a stable and loving community is essential to needs of individuals and families whose human rights have been violated according to Sarah. Durham has done its best in welcoming and accepting refugees with open arms to the community.
"One of the reasons I think they decided to open in Durham was just its location being in the Triangle, with Chapel Hill right there, with Raleigh. A lot of times when they are considering where to open offices like this, they really take into account where refugees are going to thrive with the communities, they really want to see that a community would embrace them. They are not going to put a family, you know, in the middle of nowhere, where no one's gonna be sensitive to where they came from or not having the opportunities available." As the refugee activities coordinator Sarah plans different events to promote community awareness for Church World Service projects.
The one activity that Sarah is very passionate about is the crafting group for women hosted by the organization every Monday afternoon. "Its a great benefit to have, we're able to kind of have things like this, especially the crafting group for the ladies just to kind of offset the isolation that some of them may feel. This is a way to kind of bring these women together from all over the place, kind of enhance their English language skills and hope to bolster that self esteem and empower these women." There are many ways for the community to become more involved in the lives of the refugees coming to the Triangle. To Sarah, one of the best ways is to genuinely embrace them with loving care.