The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Will Maddox. This week we look at the power of welcoming refugees with a story of success from a former Afghani translator for the US military, an Australian town that fought for refugee acceptance, a Cambodian refugee who worked to become a US military chaplain and a Somali women who went from cleaning the rooms of a university to being its commencement speaker.
Citizens from Afghanistan and Iraq who work as interpreters for the US military are often under threat from terrorists and militias back home, but many former interpreters have been given Special Immigrant Visas to come live in the U.S. Once they arrive, life is anything but easy. One former interpreter in Virginia has benefitted from the gig economy, driving for Lyft and working as a Real Estate agent while he puts himself through college.
When 60 unused apartment units were designated for refugee resettlement in Eltham, a suburb outside Melbourne, Australia, far right groups descended upon the area to protest the move. But the locals banded together, marching down Main Street in support of the refugees. Residents formed Welcome to Eltham, an organization that aides the Syrian and Iraqi refugees with everything from language to driving lessons.
Cambodian refugee El Sar lived through the Vietnam War, the Cambodian Civil War, and the genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, and came to the United States in 1981 with no English or technical skills. He attended college and eventually became a police officer in Houston, later joining the military and serving for 21 years, where he is now a chaplain.
After the encouragement of Catholic Community Services in Utah, Somali refugee Hodan Abdi went from cleaning the rooms at the University of Utah to giving its commencement speech at graduation. Despite having no formal schooling until age 13, she worked hard to get her GED, go to college and be accepted to medical school, where she hopes to prepare for a career with Doctors Without Borders.