Syrian civilians live with the constant fear of air strikes, snipers, chemical weapons, and extremists. Violence against civilians continues to escalate, creating ever-greater needs for support to the suffering, displaced, injured, and grieving. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 4 million people have fled Syria since 2011 and 8.7 million are predicted to be displaced inside Syria this year.
Many countries have taken in Syrian refugees to provide protection and ease the suffering. The United States also reaffirmed its commitment to resettle at least 10,000 Syrians in FY 2016. Since January 1, 2010, the United States has admitted more than 3,000 Syrian refugees .
To welcome Syrian refugee families arriving in the DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) areas, FREE-Syria is working with key members of the Syrian-American community and a number of government and nonprofit organizations. We have designed a support program through which refugee families will become integrated members of American society and attain self-sufficiency.
FREE-Syria’s refugee support program focuses on providing training and empowerment programs to help Syrian families transition to their new lives. Our goal is to create a support network that can provide refugee families with the tools they need initially to acclimatize and begin the integration process. FREE-Syria mobilizes resources through our network of volunteers, government and non-profit partners, and the Syrian-American community.
Salwa Dakheel Addressed Prince George’s County Council on Syrian Refugees
Salwa spoke to the members of the County Council as they met to vote on a resolution expressing support of diversity and inclusiveness in the county. In her speech, Salwa reminded the County Council that the American people cannot ignore their moral imperative to help Syrian refugees. She added that more must be done to educate Americans on why so many Syrians are refugees and the conditions from which they seek refuge. This will help to dispel the fears of some Americans of Syrian refugees and hopefully reduce the wave of hatred and bigotry that has been directed towards them.
The County Council voted unanimously to pass the resolution. See full text here: https://goo.gl/OxoTCH
Many of the refugees who will come to the U.S. are ordinary, middle-class families. Many had jobs, homes, and businesses – they led ordinary lives, just like you and me. Their kids went to school and played sports – just like our kids. These Syrians have lost everything, including loved ones.
Still other refugees might never have been out of Syria before, and transitioning to American culture may be difficult. Many Americans want to help, but don’t know how. They have unanswered questions about who Syrian refugees are and how they might behave in the United States.
FREE-Syria, along with key members of the Syrian-American community, is working with a number of U.S. nongovernmental organizations to welcome Syrian refugees. We offer English-language classes and cultural awareness sessions. We also work with other organizations and individuals that offer donations of clothing and furniture. As we can, we create job opportunities. Most importantly, we offer a hearty “Welcome to the Land of the Free.”
Please join us in showing Syrians that they are no longer refugees without a home; they are a part of our community. #RefugeesWelcome.
Woman walks in shoes of local Syrian refugees
Judy Zaal, a devout Christian who describes herself as an open-minded conservative, got the chance to put a face to the refugee crisis.