Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Your Call 061908 World Refugee Day

What kind of a welcome does the Bay Area put out for refugees? World Refugee Day is Friday, and on the next Your Call we'll mark the occasion by talking to refugees who have been relocated to our communities. So often refugees are shown as far away victims of disasters or some other country's failings. We'll speak with two refugees of the Iraq war who just arrived in San Francisco. What kind of welcome are they finding? Who else is in our neighborhoods, fleeing our foreign policy choices? It's Your Call with me Rose Aguilar and you.

Lavinia Limn in Washington D.C.
President of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Lavinia Limn has more than 30 years of experience working on behalf of refugees and immigrants. During the Clinton Administration, Ms. Limon served as the Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services, designing and implementing programs to assist newly arriving refugees in achieving economic and social self-sufficiency.

Ali Muhammed Kareem in San Francisco
Ali arrived on Feb 4th. He was a logistics supervisor and interpreter and was caught in a bomb blast. He had several surgeries during his 16 month stay in Jordan. He is fluent in English and has been asked to write on article on his experiences for the IRC SF Newsletter. He is working as an Office Administrator at Mary Green Company in San Francisco.

Anmar Al Rikibi in San Francisco
Amnar arrived on March 10th. He is a Civil Engineer who worked for Bechtel in Iraq. He spent 18 months in the UAE. He works as a Project Engineer with a small engineering construction firm in the East Bay.

Bir Thapa
Chairman of the Bhutanese American Community Center in Alameda. The local Bhutanese Community is one of only a very few in the U.S. and very small- only about 35 people. All of the Bhutanese that we met have here for between 3 and 7 years. None of them came as refugees because there was no access to the U.S. Refugee Program until recently but were granted political asylum. We are working very closely with them in the resettlement of Bhutanese refugees who are coming from refugee camps in Nepal. They are being resettled in the East Bay. Over the summer months IRC expects about 75 to 100 new arrivals.

Brian Adkins
Resource Developer of the International Rescue Committee's San Francisco office. IRC's local office was established in 1975 to serve the needs of Southeast Asian refugees who were airlifted to the U.S. after the fall of Saigon.

Click to Listen: World Refugee Day