The latest major refugee crisis in Europe has captured international attention and started a new round of discussions here in the United States on how to support refugees.
Portland, Oregon, Oct 08, 2015 — The latest major refugee crisis in Europe has captured international attention and started a new round of discussions here in the United States on how to support refugees. Several major metro areas across the country are beginning to respond with offers of settlement, but the process of assimilation for new refugees can be daunting. Refugees living in the U.S. may now access many of the resources they need to build their lives after resettlement through a new content rich multi-language website from The Refugee Center Online: http://therefugeecenter.org/.
“I went through a lot of difficulties during my resettlement to the U.S., things most people cannot understand,” said Mohamud, a refugee from Somalia. “Coming to the U.S. and seeing so many things and having to adjust, I couldn’t remember anything I was learning. And I didn’t have anywhere to find the information I needed.”
Jessica Marks, founder and director of the Refugee Center Online (RCO), understands those issues and explains the purpose of the online center is to offer refugees access to resources and community — two crucial requirements for successfully establishing a new life in the U.S.
“Refugees face significant barriers to resettlement, including learning English, adjusting to U.S. culture, understanding U.S. systems – especially our public schools and healthcare, finding living wage careers, navigating new family and gender roles,” Marks said. “Our new online center was developed in collaboration with refugees across the US to help refugees overcome those barriers.”
The RCO website provides a basic overview and background of life in the U.S., with this information available in refugee languages. The overview includes education, career, health, daily life, rights and laws, and culture, and features an interactive, online Citizenship Preparation course to prepare refugees for the naturalization process. Coming soon is an online GED Preparation course.
Tej Mishra, RCO board chair and a refugee from Bhutan, is most excited about the new online center’s capacity to build community among refugees. The website features the work of refugee writers who share their experiences adjusting to life in the U.S. Plus, it will eventually include online forums for refugees to share ideas, and e-mentoring opportunities for refugees.
“When everything feels new and different, many refugees feel a loss of their community and ask themselves, do I even belong here?” Mishra said. “We are hopeful that many of the new elements of the website will help alleviate that sense of not belonging.”
The RCO is a nonprofit organization for resettled refugees in the U.S. The RCO uses technology to help refugees gain the knowledge and skills they need to have successful resettlement transitions, and creates connections for refugees seeking additional support networks.
For More Information Contact: Jessica Marks, firstname.lastname@example.org, (406) 459-8235