I would like you to meet Patrick Litanga who in the video below explains what it is like to arrive in this country as a refugee. Patrick knows because he came here years ago as a young refugee from the Congo. Since then he has completed a Masters Degree and is currently working on his Doctorate while holding two jobs. Patrick is now married and has two children.
One of Patrick’s jobs is with the Kentucky Refugee Ministry (KRM) as a caseworker, giving back to those who have helped him to succeed as an American citizen and to other refugees who arrive in Kentucky.
Listen as he tells you what it is like to be a new arrival and how he feels about the airport welcomes that KRM provides. As a volunteer with Patrick more than once I can say that he does this part of his work with enthusiasm and sincerity. He makes Airport Welcomes work with a very personal touch.
“We cannot forget that we are a nation founded by refugees who were fleeing oppression and often fearful for their lives.” Brad Schneider
Today is World Refugee Day, a day designated to consider the plight of refugees, the contributions of refugees and how we might make their transition to our own countries easier.
For the past few years, I have volunteered in various capacities with the Kentucky Refugee Ministry (KRM). My jobs have been very insignificant, serving food, playing with children, welcoming newcomers at the airport as in the photo below. I always, however, learn something important from these experiences.
I have found these people to be so grateful for each kindness offered to them. They progress quickly under the leadership of KRM Caseworkers and quickly assimilate into the community working and going to school.
This year, so far, I have personally welcomed 40 individual refugees from countries such as the Congo, Myanmar, and Afganistan. Most have been living in refugee camps for years. Some have been surviving in terrible conditions in such camps for as long as twenty years waiting for their turn to migrate to a country where they can establish a home for their family.
“Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us—except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale.”- Khaled Hosseini