2017-11 First Welcome for Refugees: Laying Solid Foundations for Renewed Lives in the US

Thursday, Nov 9, 2017 at Lawrence Memorial Library
Refugees are ordinary people caught in an extraordinary situation. Each year refugees arrive in our state to find a safe haven.  Laurie Stavrand, Community Partnership Coordinator of the USCRI/Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (USCRI/VRRP), will discuss what her
organization does to help refugees transition to Vermont. 
Aden Haji, a member of the first Somali Bantu family to resettle in Vermont, will speak about the importance of telling our stories so that our community can be inclusive. 

USCRI/VRRP is the only refugee resettlement program in Vermont and part of a nationwide network designed to break through social, cultural, and economic barriers so previously interrupted lives can flourish. Stavrand will help us
understand how refugees can overcome a traumatic past to make a new home in Vermont, where they will work, raise families and make connections. The goal of new arrivals is first to be safe and second to become respected members of the community.

Stavrand will discuss USCRI/VRRP’s work, the challenges and strengths of refugee communities, the rights and responsibilities of refugees who arrive in our state, and the ways in which community members can support USCRI/VRRP’s work. The audience will view a film featuring three former refugees who resettled in Vermont from Somali Bantu, Bhutanese and Bosnian cultures. 

The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program was founded in 1980 to provide a safe place for those fleeing persecution. It offers an opportunity for all Vermonters to respond to the global refugee crisis in concrete ways. In the Yankee tradition of neighbors helping neighbors, Vermonters give refugees a helping hand and the tools they need to develop personal independence and economic self-sufficiency while becoming contributing, able participants in their Vermont communities. Over the past 30 years, VRRP has developed an effective, efficient resettlement program.

For more information on this event or about One World Library Project, contact the Lawrence Memorial Library at 453-2366.

This event is hosted by the One World Library Project and is supported in part by the Vermont Humanities Council. It is free, open to the public and accessible to those with disabilities.

Photo credits: USCRI/VRRP staff