A Mother's Journey

Dear Friend of CRIT,

After witnessing the murderous atrocities committed by rebels in her village, Khadra gathered her five small children and abandoned her home with the hope of finding refuge in another town. Without the protection of her husband and brother, who both fell victim to the violence, Khadra traveled for two weeks to reach a refugee camp where she hoped her family would finally be safe. Instead, Khadra and her family were faced with a continuation of the dangers they fled from—hunger, rape, raids, and more violence. No peace could be found, forcing Khadra to continue her journey from camp to camp, constantly seeking safety for her children.

After almost 15 years of traveling between refugee camps in several countries, Khadra was granted permission to bring her family to the United States. Upon arrival in America, Khadra was relieved that she and her family had escaped the dangers of the rebels, but she soon found that America posed a set of very different challenges. Thousands of miles away from her homeland, Khadra had little money, few marketable skills, limited access to transportation, a language barrier, and no network through which she could find support.

Unfortunately, Khadra’s story is not unusual. As of 2009, approximately 265,658 foreign-born residents have come to our beautiful state. They arrive seeking refuge, asylum, peace and prosperity—but without the awareness of programs and services that resettlement, post-resettlement, and immigrant-serving agencies provide, the task to acclimate refugees and immigrants into society can be greatly undermined. For many, their minimal government assistance runs dry and they are left feeling alone and confused, wondering how to move forward.

The Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee (CRIT)—a Nashville non-profit founded by Somali refugees who were once in the same situation—is their lifeline to a better future. Our goal is to serve refugees and immigrants from around the world through culturally competent individualized services, educational programs, and connection to established communities. We strive to give determined men and women like Khadra the tools to create a better life for themselves and their families.

At CRIT, we see refugees and immigrants succeed daily. Khadra’s determination did not subside when she arrived in the United States. She started her own cleaning business and took a second job to make her goals for her family a reality. Following Khadra’s example, two of her children are now working to pay their way through college. One of her daughters, a staff member at CRIT, works seven days a week between two jobs while putting herself through college full-time. This is simply one example of opportunity carrying the power of hope to others.

Since 2000, CRIT has assisted an estimated 5,200 other refu­gees and immigrants, teaching them valuable job skills, offering English as a Second Language classes, preparing them for citizenship, providing their children after-school tutoring, teaching computer literacy skills, and helping them access needed services. We teach them how to thrive in America and give them the tools to become self-sufficient. Through this process, we see hope restored and futures built.

In the coming years it is expected that federal funding for many post-resettlement assistance programs will be cut. As agencies like ours prepare to face this potential transition, we turn to individuals such as you to intervene. We ask that you extend a hand to the displaced of Burma, the struggling of East Africa, the uprooted of the Middle East, the women like Khadra who have given everything for their families. We ask that you join us in changing the lives of men, women and children who would otherwise be neglected.

To help us continue to help others only takes a moment. To donate, simply click the Donate Now button below to make a secure contribution online or follow the instructions below to mail your contribution. Your 100% tax-deductible gift will grant someone a partner in this journey of transition; it will further our ability to stand alongside the refugees and immigrants of our state and teach them what it looks like to provide for themselves and take pride in their new life in the United States.

The Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee does not offer handouts; it is a place where refugees like Khadra can meet with oth­ers who are in similar situations, receive guidance, and settle into their new home. For years, we have helped thousands of displaced refugees and immigrants as they have sought their chance at a better life. Please join us today as we strive to continue to make this a reality.

If you wish to send your tax-deductible donation by mail, please include your name, phone number, and address and send to:

Center for Refugees & Immigrants of Tennessee
295 Plus Park Boulevard
Suite 102
Nashville, TN 37217


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