In 2005, Binkley formed a Refugee Resettlement Committee in order to have an active role in helping refugees resettle in the Triangle area. The committee works with Lutheran Family Services who work with the US Government to help refugees enter the US. We have worked with five families living in Durham, Raleigh, and Carrboro. Our efforts are partially funded by the Binkley outreach budget. We have also sought additional funds from community resources at times. Finding and using community agencies for assistance has been critical as well. Several families are Montagnards from Vietnam where they were persecuted because of their minority status, Christian beliefs, and past history of working with the US during the Vietnam War. One family is from the minority Karen tribe in Burma. The Karen’s have been heavily persecuted, imprisoned and killed due to their minority status and Christian beliefs.
What do we do with and for these families? First we help them put together a household of furniture, kitchen needs, clothing, and linens. Then, we have to quickly help them learn about the US financial system: understanding money, using the banking systems, making and keeping budgets, and paying bills They must learn how to shop for food economically and occasional trips to Asian markets help them find nurture in their native foods. A major thrust of our work is to advocate for and works with families regarding educational needs of the children—helping them get connected with schools, finding special services, and finding resources for learning English. Lastly, we soon discovered the massive efforts needed to meet the health and dental needs of these families. This includes obtaining Medicaid support, gaining access to health care resources that accept Medicaid, taking family members to appointments and interpreting their needs as well as planning for follow-up needs, and teaching the family about health issues.
We have enjoyed giving and receiving one of the most precious gifts in this world—mutual fellowship and love. We look forward to many more opportunities to help these families grow into becoming Americans while also retaining their unique culture practices and beliefs.
Contact person: David Green davidLDgreen@gmail.com 542-0926