The United States offers safety and freedom to thousands of refugees from across the globe. Whether fleeing conflict or persecution, these hopeful people come to the U.S. packed, sometimes quite literally, with only their hope and determination for a better life.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. IRC works in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities. IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children.
I am so proud to say that Charlottesville, Virginia now joins the cities in the U.S. that offer sanctuary for these refugees fleeing circumstance most of us are lucky enough to have only read about.
This year, the IRC staff and volunteers built 11 raised garden plots for refugee families in Charlottesville. Refugees from Burma, Bhutan, and Iraq are growing lettuce, mustard greens, radish, peas, okra, squash, tomato, eggplant, basil, pepper, and Swiss chard. The food grown in the city will help feed the families, as well as give them a sense of community and home.
The IRC ensures that newly arrived refugees receive a furnished home, help with rent, health care, affordable food, English language classes, help building job and financial skills, education, social services and community support, and legal services toward residency and citizenship.
The IRC website offers heart-warming and heart-breaking stories of refugees who have fled their native countries for the safety and support that the IRC offers right here in Charlottesville. There you will also find opportunities to donate, advocate, and get IRC news.
I encourage you to watch this short, powerful video “New Roots: Growing Good for Refugees in Charlottesville,” to see exactly how IRC is making an incredible impact in the lives of refugees who now call Charlottesville home.
Please feel free to share your comments about this organization and local effort, as well as other groups in that are making a positive difference.