President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily suspending refugee and visa immigration from certain Middle Eastern countries has forced a wealth of rhetoric on the subject to surface in the news. While most media outlets are embattled in arguments regarding the order, millions more are left wondering how they can help.
The answer might lie in New Empowerment for Refugees (NER), a non-profit organization (NPO) that helps support families in the journey of becoming acclimated to life in America. Started in 2013 by Etienne Ahayo, an immigrant who fled Congo in the 1990s during mass civil unrest, the Arizona-based NPO provides basic household necessities, transportation services, English classes, job placement, and even driving lessons to refugees who are enduring the same struggles that Etienne experienced years ago.
Tiffani Sproul – wife of Lincoln Strategy Group founder Nathan Sproul – sits on the board of NER and is actively involved with helping refugees in America. “The refugees that I have come into contact with over the last several years are some of the most inspirational people you will meet,” she said. “What they have overcome to be alive and living in America is something made up only in my nightmares. After my children and I went on a mission trip to Kenya in 2013, I came back forever changed. The stories of these people should fill us with gratitude and prompt us to respond.”
With the amount of rhetoric surrounding the refugee situation at an unparalleled high right now, the need for practical assistance is even greater. Lincoln Strategy Group has been an active partner, helping Sproul and NER assist and support the people in this country one by one. Christine Brown, Lincoln Strategy Group’s operations manager, has acted as a volunteer bookkeeper for NER – and she isn’t the only one to get involved. Lincoln Strategy Group is a strong supporter of the efforts of NER.
Whether you strongly agree with President Trump’s executive order or vehemently reject it, the opportunity to help the struggling refugees who already call America home stands before you now. Having fled living situations in countries that are downright dangerous, the refugees currently in America are signs of power, perseverance, and bravery in the face of danger. They succeeded in fleeing the oppressive conditions and have sought asylum in America – now it’s up to us to make their lives here as fulfilling as our own.
While federal and state funded agencies focus on bringing refugees to America, the responsibility of integrating them and facilitating a smooth transition falls on the shoulders of other local non-profits, such as NER. Volunteer efforts and donations are uniquely and tremendously important to these local non-profits.
If you would like to donate, NER is currently raising funds for DVD players to give to African refugees, allowing them to use Rosetta Stone software to overcome the language barrier that presents itself upon their arrival in America.
All contributions made to NER go directly towards helping the refugees. To donate money, supplies, or find other ways to get involved, visit EmpoweringRefugees.com. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can give back locally or get involved in a hands-on manner in the Arizona area, check out the Welcome to America Project and Abounding Service, two non-profits that provide education, relief and housing for refugees in need.
With the rhetoric surrounding the refugee crisis on a meteoric rise, Sproul has a suggestion. “Instead of arguing with your friends about whether Trump is right or not…get involved with helping make the lives of refugees better, one person at a time. It’s the volunteers that make the refugees’ integration into our country and the hope of a better life possible.”