It’s a global crisis that has consumed our attention - 22 million people around the world are now called refugees.
Last year, Lutheran Social Services welcomed about 500 refugees to Arizona and built foundations for them to thrive. “Our goal is to help them safely settle and achieve self-sufficiency in their new life in Arizona,” says President/CEO Connie Phillips.
A refugee is somebody who cannot return home for fear of facing violence and persecution. They are the most rigorously screened people admitted into America, including fingerprint and biometric screening, interviews, and intense scrutiny from international intelligence agencies.
LSS-SW services include locating housing, employment services, and cultural orientation on topics such as health and safety, and job preparation.
“Many of our clients have spent years, often decades, in a refugee camp or neighboring country where they have no means to make a living. They want what most of us want – a chance to support their families, an education for their children, a safe place to call home,” says Phillips.
One such refugee is Trhas, 34, a single mother of 4 who is originally from Eritrea and arrived in Arizona in 2016. “My biggest hope is that my children will continue to learn English and obtain good jobs, like a doctor or a pilot,” says Trhas.
Trhas also has a hairdressing certificate from her home country, and hopes to become certified in Arizona and work in a salon.
“I am so thankful for Lutheran Social Services, and the community that has welcomed me,” she says.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is engraved on the Statue of Liberty for a reason. Throughout history, the U.S. has offered a refuge to people fleeing persecution, torture, and terror. As Americans, we should keep our minds, our hearts, and our arms open to people who have risked everything to save their families and come to America to start a new life in safety and freedom.