January 2018

The Santa Fe Refugee Collaborative

 

Mi’raj Bukhari-Frayer 

 

New Mexico has been receiving refugees and asylum seekers since 2002. We have individuals and families from Afghanistan, Congo, Central African Republic, Iraq, Mozambique, Pakistan, Syria, Cuba, Honduras, Colombia and Vietnam.

SFRC works to support refugee families by helping folks find language, employment, household and educational resources, and making sure that families feel welcome.

 

The Santa Fe Refugee Collaborative is a grassroots effort in Santa Fe and Albuquerque to build bridges, not walls. We are working with immigrant refugees and local communities, businesses, nonprofits and interfaith groups to create opportunities and to dismantle myths and misinformation around immigration.

 

Our one-year anniversary in October 2017 was marked by a community potluck hosted by St. Bede’s Episcopal Church. The event helped expand awareness of the refugee climate that has been magnified by geopolitical issues and how we can become more engaged and proactive on a community level.

The Santa Fe Refugee Collaborative hosted an event in which students wrote letters of welcome and support to refugee children in Albuquerque.

 

We are currently rallying support for asylum seekers and the Cibola detention center issue through the New Mexico Coalition of Immigrant Justice and Santa Fe Dreamers. We are seeking financial support for those organizations. During the cold season we are requesting donations such as warm clothing and sanitary hygiene products to address homelessness. Volunteers are needed to work with The Lighthouse of New Mexico in Albuquerque and the Adelante and Esperanza shelters in Santa Fe.

 

People have come forward to provide English as a Second Language (ESL), job opportunities and art therapy, to partner with interfaith circles and put on benefits and presentations through the Santa Fe Council of International Relations.

 

People and diverse groups taking action motivated by empathy have been some of the most gratifying aspects of SFRC’s work. They are helping build a strong community network and are actively demonstrating good virtue through a collaborative approach. Our efforts are completely volunteer-based. One hundred percent of fundraising is provided directly to those in need.

 

Please check out SFRC’s Facebook page for additional information and contact Tarrie Burnett, director of Lutheran Family Services, and Cecil Lapita, director of Catholic Charities, for their expertise in refugee resettlement. 

 

Mi’raj Bukhari-Frayer is the founder of the Santa Fe Refugee Collaborative.

 

 

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