Refugee Action Club gathers resources to host refugee family

Walkway in front of Skillman Library. (Photo by Lauren Fox).

Starting this week, a refugee family hosted by Lafayette’s Refugee Action Club will be calling Easton home.

Having just arrived yesterday, the family is being hosted in a home prepared by the club. Due to privacy and security concerns, only those intimately involved with the resettlement process will have access to details about the family.

Refugee Action is “a student organization that aims to bring awareness to refugee issues on campus and in the Easton community,” president Rebecca Wai ’18 said. The group was established last spring.

“We honestly thought it would take a year or more to get approval and find a house, but we got everything ready in less than a semester,” Wai said.

Combined with Refugee Action’s efforts were the efforts of several organizations and individuals within the Easton community.

“A number of faith communities and local organizations have been very generous. Many more folks have spent time…helping us get the necessary furniture donated and others have brought donations and offered assistance,” Chaplain Alex Hendrickson wrote in an email.

One organization that played a prominent role in the resettlement was Bethany Christian Services. Physics professor emeritus Dave Hogenboom, who had a great deal of experience in the matter of refugee resettlement due to his involvement in similar movements in the 1970s and 1980s, also provided assistance to the group’s efforts.

Despite the amount work that went into this resettlement project, Refugee Action is already planning on similar projects in the future.

“One of our main aims is to ensure that this initiative is sustainable,” Wai said. “Our dream is to work with Lafayette to ensure that we always have a house to host a family.”

“It really helps [refugee families] to have a partner that is always ready to go,” she added.

The group reached out to the Lafayette community for monetary and material donations to help the family settle in, and the community followed through, according to Hendrickson.

“We will be in pretty good shape for the family to move into their home this week, due to the help of many in the Lafayette and Easton community,” Hendrickson wrote in an email.

Donations through Venmo are still being accepted, and anyone interested in helping can donate to @refugeeaction. The group also collected material donations such as English language learning materials, English media (DVDs, books, etc.) and gift cards to local stores in the Easton community.

Refugee Action has held numerous events over the course of the semester to raise the necessary funds for eventually hosting a family. Refugee Action hosted events with Syrian violinist Mariela Shaker and Syrian-American Director Elias Matar.

Leave a Reply

*