Darfurian refugees begin arriving in New Jersey
Posted by Christopher Coen on May 26, 2012
Darfurian refugees have begun to arrive in New Jersey, outside of New York City. (Approximately 480,000 Darfurians were killed, with over 2.8 million people displaced, in a conflict fueled by Sudan’s government between 2003 and 2010. In 2008 the International Criminal Court announced ten criminal charges against Sudan’s military leader and self-proclaimed President, Omar al-Bashir, including sponsoring war crimes and crimes against humanity.) The HIAS affiliate United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ says it was helping to resettle three young Dafurian refugee men in September, followed by several families and 25 young men in the following months. The price of housing in the area is a concern, therefore the group is looking for donated space for transitional housing until the refugees can save up enough money from jobs to pay for housing. An article at New Jersey Jewish News explains:
After fleeing from the ravages of genocide in their native land, three refugees from Darfur are now crafting new lives in the MetroWest community with a large assist from the Jewish Vocational Service, a beneficiary agency of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ.
Thanks to a $88,532 grant from the federal State Office of Refugee Resettlement, JVS has helped the men find transitional housing in the area, while providing caseworkers, translation services, English classes, vocational training, job coaching, and other support.
The men are the first wave of Darfuris to arrive in New Jersey, ahead of several families and 25 young men expected to be coming to this area in the next few months. JVS and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society hope to resettle 25 or more refugees from Sudan’s Darfur region, which suffered under genocidal attacks by the Sudanese government…
…“There are major issues,” said [Nancy Fisher, the agency’s assistant executive director for education and training]. “Each refugee is given $1,100 from the federal government when they arrive in the United States. For a family of five, the $5,500 can tide them over. But for the single guys, the $1,100 is not enough. We need to find them transitional housing at reduced rates. Housing around here is not cheap.”
To help out, JVS board members provided goods, services, and contributions for the refugees. The Sleepy’s mattress company donated five beds to a temporary housing facility in Newark for new arrivals.
“This is a huge expense we cannot pay for ourselves,” said Fisher.
JVS is looking for donated space for transitional housing.
“Maybe a large house or something connected to an old church or synagogue that is not being used, where they can spend a couple of months and get used to this country and its customs, then save a bit of money and move into their own places,” said Reilly. “For now, it would be helpful for some families to be willing to take in people, especially others who are coming soon”… Read more here