NC Welcomes: Refugee Resettlement

$19,426 of $23,000 goal

Raised by 107 people in 30 months
Juli Kurtzman
on behalf of Richard DePatie NC Welcomes/St. Marks Episcopal Church
 NEW CANAAN, CT
Hello and welcome to NC Welcome's fundraising platform.  I'm sure you have all seen the gut-wrenching stories about the humanitarian crisis going on with so many people from Syria and other countries losing their homes, their friends and families and risking their lives to escape.  We can help!  Here in New Canaan, as well as all over Fairfield County, we are so excited to have the opportunity to welcome a refugee family.  Partnering with IRIS, a uniquely Connecticut-based refugee resettlement agency, we are co-sponsoring a single family to either Norwalk or Stamford.  St. Marks Episcopal Church is working with our group, NC Welcomes, to spearhead this effort.  I hope to be welcoming our family by the end of next month.  But in order to do so, we need to be adequately capitalized.

In order to cover our initial expenses, which include, first, last and deposit for a rental home, new bedding (required by law) and other incidentals (such as winter coats and a full refrigerator), we need to raise this money before we can welcome our family.  The family will not be able to work for a couple of months due to legal constraints, and since most families who arrive this way have been living in refugee camps for years and years, they will be effectively penniless.

If you would like to get involved in other ways as well, we would love to have you!  There are so many jobs, large and small, that need doing.  Please go to Facebook and search New Canaan Welcomes.  Ask to be our friends and we will gladly make it so.  Or feel free to send us an email at our shiny, new email address--newcanaanwelcomes@gmail.com.  Lastly, we will have our dedicated website up and running very soon.  There will be links to everything pertaining to this effort therein.

Thank you so much!!!--Juli
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Hi All-Thank you so much for helping the Mlule family have an amazing Christmas holiday filled with gifts, stockings and yummy food. The attached photos include one of Santa's Sled (my car) and the other of some of the kids before they tore into their presents. The younger ones have been busy playing on their Amazon tablets while the older boys have been enjoying their PS4 and laptop. Amos is having a blast creating electronic music using his new usb mic and the Fruity Loops software we installed on the laptop while Lambert is busy editing photos taken on his new pro grade Canon. Asuku and I went to the coolest market--Food Bazaar--to buy ten pounds of goat, lots of fresh fish and all of the trappings of a huge Christmas feast. Together, we raised enough money to supplement their rent through 2019 as well as provide for this bountiful Christmas. Thank you for being a part of something so special! Happy New Year!-Juli
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Hi All. Happy Holidays. I've been helping this struggling refugee family living in Bridgeport as they try and sort out life here in the States. I've copied the info I sent out to people on my New Canaan Welcomes FB page. Feel free to read the tome. Or I will just give you my ask up top. I'd like to give the family Christmas gifts and to be able to help them meet the rent payments next year. Alone, they cannot do so. They are a Congolese family of ten that found themselves stranded in a Tanzanian refugee camp for 24 years. They couldn't work and did not have access to an education. They could really use a helping hand. If you're interested, read on. Thank you and have a great holiday.

"Here's a quick update on what's happening with the Mlule's of late. Asuku (dad) is still working nights as a custodian. Nyassa has started a small business sewing. Attached are some photos of these beautiful little bags that she's been making for sale. Lambert, the son in the photo above, is busy studying at community college. Apolina, the daughter holding the baby, has a passion for tennis and she jumps at any opportunity to play. The baby is ten months old. Everybody else is studying hard in school.

It's been such a hard transition for this family since coming here. Because they spent 24 years being unable to work or attend school, their lives were very much derailed. But everytime I go visit, they have big smiles and hugs and they are so glad to be safely living here in Connecticut.

It's a crazy time of year, and I wish I had put out this ask earlier, but I'd love to buy the family some nice Christmas gifts and provide for a lovely Christmas dinner.

Your donations are tax deductible.

I'm hoping to raise enough money to continue helping the family with their rent, as we have done since this past May, for another year. Also, I'd like to surprise them with something special for each member of the family.

In order to supplement the family's rent in the way I feel would be most helpful yet also lead to self-sufficiency, I'd need another $3,600. For Christmas, I'll just work with whatever people would like to contribute.

If anyone would like to purchase one of Nyassa's bags, please let me know and I'll sort it out. She is asking $15 per bag and they are really cute and well made. Below are photos of the one I bought. She also takes in tailoring work.

Thank you all and have a nice, zen holiday season!
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Hi all. It is with great joy that I get to present you with these photos! Melinda Ewing Andrade, Oana Root, Susan Khiar and I all had the pleasure of moving the Mlule family into their new apartment. So many people contributed the beautiful furnishings and rugs and utility items that will make this family super comfy in their new digs! They were a family of ten sharing three beds in a three room (not bedroom) noisy dump over a bar. Now they have an airy apartment with four bedrooms, a living room, dining room and kitchen. Out back, the dad, Asuku, is starting his vegetable garden. The kids can go outside and play with the neighbors’ kids. Nyassa, the mom, can walk her baby about in the strollers donated to her.

All of us at NCWelcomes came together to give this family a renewed chance to build a satisfying life in America. I am so proud of our community and what we have accomplished. When we formed, it was all about welcoming a refugee family from Syria. But we pivoted with grace and kindness and have made a huge and positive impact on a desperate family from the Congo.

Once the dust has settled, I will present you all with photos and a clear retelling of their story. In the meantime, know that your donations of money and goods have gone to a lovely family desperately in need.

Thank you again for being a part of our effort to help a refugee family gently acclimate to life in America.
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Hello All:

I know I haven't written in a long time. But I want you all to understand how the balance of your generous donations is being used. You might remember that since no families who are eligible for cosponsorship are being admitted, we found ourselves all set with no one to help.

Then late last year, a member of NCWelcomes who has a daughter reached out to us. She has been running an amazing program in a refugee camp in Greece for the past three or so years. She found herself desperate for funds to keep "Cafe Rits" open. It's named for Ritsana, the camp's name. She does amazing work and if you're interested, you can find more info here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/caferits/about/

That left us with about $10,000. A volunteer for another local refugee agency approached us in tears. She has been helping a Congolese family of ten try to settle in but it's been a struggle to put it mildly.

Asuku & Nyassa met young and together they had to flee the Congo. They lived in a Tanzanian refugee camp for 24 years, I think, before being resettled to the USA. There, they had seven children. Their oldest son is 22 , the youngest is 6. The eighth, the baby, was born in February.

As you probably know, refugee families are given very little governmental support--about $1,000 plus some food rent help for a few months. Perhaps for the most resilient amongst us, that would suffice. But it has left this family flailing and in desperate need for cosponsorship, which their agency does not offer.

The family was living in a tiny 3/1 apartment over a bar. Their landlord was stealing from them and the kids had nowhere safe to play. The dad, Asuku, is working as a night custodian and the oldest son is working as a dishwasher. Asuku has a high school education and speaks French along with Swahili. Nyassa has little to no schooling and only speaks Swahili. The kids got very little education while in Tanzania. So now the kids are struggling to learn to learn, and to do so in English. The second oldest son, Lambert, has picked up English fairly well and will be attending community college come Fall. With extra attention given to the Mlule family, they kids can have a much better life than their parents, and can earn a decent wage bringing the whole family out of poverty.

We are using the remaining money to resettle the family into a 4/1 apartment in a much better area. There is an overgrown plot out back where Asuku can start a garden, something he has always dreamt of. And there are kids playing in the neighborhood. They are so excited to move, which happens on 5/5. Our community has gotten behind the Mlule's to get them everything from the furniture they need, to internet (something they've never had) to gardening supplies and other sundry items.

The family can only afford $800/mo in rent. So we will be supplementing the rent, $600/mo, with the remaining funds until they run out. Your donations have only gone towards two things--Cafe Rits and the Mlule's rent.

Thank you so much for being a part of making a huge change in a family's life!

Be sure to check out the photo up top of mom and dad with Lambert, who's starting college soon and the new baby.
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Read a Previous Update
Marty Stammer
19 months ago

Hi Julie, I think that's a great idea - it will put the money to good use!

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$19,426 of $23,000 goal

Raised by 107 people in 30 months
Created January 12, 2017
Juli Kurtzman
on behalf of Richard DePatie NC Welcomes/St. Marks Episcopal Church
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PH
$100
Paul Hutchinson
6 months ago
KC
$100
Kelly & Marcia Cannon
6 months ago
DK
$100
David and Bunny Kurtzman
7 months ago

Good work Julie!

JW
$100
Jane Weiner
7 months ago
AM
$100
Alicia Meyer
7 months ago
KG
$100
Kara Gilliam
7 months ago
LS
$200
Lindsay Sellers
7 months ago
KC
$200
Kelly Cannon
7 months ago
MK
$100
Meaghan Kupchak
7 months ago
ND
$100
Nicole Dillon
7 months ago
Marty Stammer
19 months ago

Hi Julie, I think that's a great idea - it will put the money to good use!

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