Kamili: Small business+Empowerment=Full Circle

Kamili: Small business+Empowerment=Full Circle

Thank you, Britta and the makers at Kamili!

ReEstablish Richmond volunteer, Britta Kelley, worked with Gorette as her mentor for almost a year when she came to us with a business idea.

“Gorette is losing her social services benefits due to time limitations and I don’t know how she will pay rent with just her factory job income as a single mom. I want to do something to help,” said Britta.

That is how Kamili was born. Kamili is new local business that employees members of the refugee community to make bracelets.

A year later, Re-Establish Richmond received its first donation from Kamili to support our community engagement program.

When sending the donation, Kelly said, “This is so fun being able to make $ for the people we love and want to support. I'm super emotional about this. All of the hard work getting Kamili off the ground is finally paying off! “

To learn more about the Kamili story and the people to make the bracelets:

https://richmondmagazine.com/news/sunday-story/a-strand-of-hope/

To buy Kamili Bracelets:

https://shopkamili.com/

Welcome Fest 2018

Welcome Fest 2018

Participants were greeted with energy and enthusiasm when they arrived at the Steward School on Saturday, September 22 for ReEstablish Richmond’s 2018 Welcome Fest. Featuring storytelling, dance, music, handicraft, cooking demonstrations, and language lessons, the fundraiser sought to highlight the cultures of the refugee and international communities in greater Richmond.  A celebration of culture was indeed apparent as guests strolled down the front walkway to the beat of traditional drummers and into Welcome Fest.


Inside the lobby, vendors shared their crafts and wares for guests to explore. Hennafy painted intricate henna tattoos that (literally) sparkled, Mbarka’s Moroccan Cookies offered boxes of tasty treats, and Handmade by Kim offered unique, handcrafted jewelry designs. A Bhutanese dance demonstration at 2:30 p.m. opened a schedule of events that immersed visitors and volunteers alike in new experiences. Multiple outdoor yoga sessions invited deep breaths and loosened limbs. Individuals from the refugee community shared their stories with quiet audiences in the storytelling nook. Meanwhile, Mary’s Empanadas was a big hit on the terrace, serving up authentic Chilean artisan empanadas to hungry guests. 

Despite an overcast sky, it certainly did not rain on ReEstablish Richmond’s 2018 Welcome Fest. Through vendors, donations, the raffle, and the silent auction, ReEstablish Richmond raised nearly $6,000 and exceeded the board’s fundraising goal for the event. All of the proceeds support ReEstablish Richmond’s work serving the greater Richmond refugee community by building self-sufficiency. Thank you to all vendors, volunteers, and participants!


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Immigration as a Womxn's Issue at the Broad

Immigration as a Womxn's Issue at the Broad

What are we talking about when we talk about "sanctuary"? What is it like for refugees, asylees, and immigrants in Richmond? What does immigration have to do with feminism? 

These are some of the questions that were discussed at the Immigration as a Womxn’s Issue panel at The Broad on September 6th.

Kate Ayers, Executive Director of ReR, moderated a panel of experts on the issue: Delegate Debra Rodman who also serves as an expert witness in asylum cases, Leonina Arismendi from ICE out of RVA, Tamana Radmanish, participant in ReEstablish Richmond programs, and Lana Heath de Martinez, local advocate.

We are grateful to continue to be part of such important conversations!

Opportunity for All Grant

Opportunity for All Grant

ReEstablish Richmond is honored to be one of 47 organizations nationwide to receive a Starbuck "Opportunity For All" grant. We are excited about partnering with Starbucks employees to welcome our newest neighbors! #extrashotofgood.

Local Starbucks are already supporting refugees. On June 20, they hosted an "SIV Sips" program, inviting Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders to network with local veterans. In addition, they shared coffee with over 700 people at our Refugee Community Resources Fair on June 23, 2018. 

 

https://news.starbucks.com/facts/the-starbucks-foundations-2018-opportunity-for-all-partnerships

43rd Annual Richmond Greek Festival

43rd Annual Richmond Greek Festival

The 43rd Annual Richmond Greek Festival was held May 31 – June 3, 2018 at the Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Launched in 1976 as a small-scale fundraising event for the Richmond Children’s Hospital, the festival has grown into much-anticipated community attraction, bringing Richmonders together year after year to celebrate Greek culture and raise visibility of the Cathedral within the greater Richmond community. The 2018 festival featured numerous traditional dance performances, an indoor international marketplace, as well as a delicious variety of authentic Greek foods. To guarantee no one had an excuse to miss out, there was even a drive thru!

The festival does far more than just make our mouths water, however. It has stayed true to its founding mission and remained a remarkable way for the Cathedral to give back by donating proceeds to local charities. This year, ReEstablish Richmond was selected as one of those charities to receive a portion of profits from the event. Our executive director, Kate Ayers, was honored on stage and presented a check in the amount of $4,000. The donation will support our work serving the Richmond refugee community by connecting refugees to resources, opportunities, and working to ensure their transition is an empowering and positive experience. ReEstablish Richmond’s commitment to working in collaboration with community partners is exemplified by this pledge. Thank you to the Sts. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the Richmond Greek Community!

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VCU Globe Storytelling Series:

VCU Globe Storytelling Series:

Introduction:

We are grateful to VCU Globe student, Luciano Cicero Legnini, for helping us tell the stories of the refugees and immigrants among us. Below is the story of a VCU student from Syria:

"I dream of Hiba"

The Syrian war has been an ongoing civil war since 2011 continuing still today, after almost 8 years of conflict Assad’s regime is using chemical weapons and horrific violence on his own people.

Born in Damascus Syria, Hiba Ahmed, her mother, and her 3 siblings travelled south across the border into Jordan and were processed into a large refugee resettlement camp called Zaatari in 2013. Hiba lived through the death of her father who was killed outside Homs, SyriaShe also saw many of her friends flee to Turkey and Lebanon. Hiba was in Jordan for 3 years before being interviewed for travel, where she and her family were lucky enough to be relocated to Belgium. While spending 2 years in Belgium she was given the opportunity to travel to the USA and attend VCU for a study abroad program that has allowed her to experience America for this semester before going back to her family and new home in Belgium. Hiba is grateful for the time she has spent in Richmond and is looking to come back here again one day. She is so proud to know of the efforts taken by the IRC and Reestablish Richmond in order to help families around the world experiencing struggles.

Swimming Day

Swimming Day

We had 12 ecstatic kids from Iraq and Syria because the St. Catherine's School swim team partnered with SwimRVa to provide swim lessons this past Sunday.

Thank you to St. Catherine's student Brucie Mish for making this project come to life! 

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Getting Together with the Community Street Fair

Getting Together with the Community Street Fair

We ended spring break with a Community Street Fair in an east end neighborhood refugees from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ethiopia. Last Friday was a blustery but beautiful day full of excitement for the children – a real fire engine; free bike repairs by community police officers; creative activities by Arts in the Alley and Richmond Peace Education Center ☮ – and health and safety information for the adults – by the Henrico Health Department and VIEW program, Safe Kids Virginia, and RideFinders, Central Virginia. The local high school ESL teacher came, too! Neighbors talked and laughed together while sharing sweet treats from one another’s countries.

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We Love IT!

We Love IT!

Community member Bob Webb attended a ReEstablish Richmond Volunteer Orientation, the first step to becoming a volunteer, and answered the call for IT support. Bob used his personal connections to bring David Hair and Richard Lockwood into the fold. Both David and Richard consulted remotely and offered thorough step-by-step troubleshooting suggestions. Richard joined us in the office for just a half-day of diagnostics, solving our server / client connectivity problem that had vexed many IT professionals for months. We are forever indebted to Bob, David, and Richard for their valuable time and dedication. 


Check out Richard and David, and keep them in mind for your IT needs!

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rpjlockwood/
https://www.capitolmac.com/

Refugees and International Students Come Together

Refugees and International Students Come Together

Luciano Legnini is a student at VCU Globe and has worked with ReEstablish Richmond this past semester and would like to share one of her experiences 

Richmond is the city of a thousand international homes. It has people coming from all over the globe who leave their home in search of better futures. Located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) consists of a large population of international students who leave home in pursuing a higher education in Richmond. Although not nearly in the same circumstances, many refugees from around the world are also coming to Richmond in hope of building their home away from home. With the support of many partnering agencies, including ReEstablish Richmond, refugee families are able to establish roots and become self-sufficiency living in the city.


            One of the many services that ReEstablish Richmond provide is a special program where the two populations, refugee and international students, coming together as one. The program where international students volunteer as soccer facilitators to help refugee children find an outlet, be healthy and make new friends by playing sports. ReEstablish Richmond and their volunteers teach the children basic soccer skills, teambuilding skills, and simply have fun. The program is held once a week on Wednesday evenings at Harold Macon Ratcliffe Elementary School.

One of the volunteers from VCU, Said Mansor Sadat, who is an international student from Afghanistan, claims that this program is “potentially life-changing”.  Sadat explains, “While I was teaching these kids the game I love so dearly, I have learned a lot from them too! They have taught me the sport as more than a game, but more so, learning this universal language that can be communicated anywhere in the world.” Sadat also speaks of the other activities where he and the children make blankets for winter. He recalls a moment of joy as the children gave him a blanket that they made for him.

Through supporting the refugee population in learning, team working, and having sportsmanship, ReEstablish Richmond is building a brighter future not only for refugees in Richmond but for the future for an inclusive community.

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Giving Tuesday 2017

Giving Tuesday 2017

Today is the day! Happy #givingtuesday
 
YOU are an integral part of enabling refugees to become self-sufficient and achieve their dreams. We urgently need your help to continue our vital programs. 
 
Donate in honor of Giving Tuesday on our Facebook page or on our website atwww.reestablishrichmond.org/donate

ReEstablish and Lush working together

ReEstablish and Lush working together

This past spring, ReEstablish Richmond was the first organization in Virginia to partner with Lush's Charity Pot Program. On October 28th, ReEstablish Richmond worked together with Lush to bring awareness to the Refugees and Immigrants in the Richmond area.  Lush is a natural handmade and fair trade cosmetic company that funds charities in unique and creative ways.  ReEstablish Richmond and Lush share the common bond of being hands on and helping however and whenever we can. ReEstablish Richmond was proud to sell its limited release branded moisturizer. Profits of the sales of this moisturizer will go back into Lush's Charity Pot.  We were pleasantly surprised to have a packed house and a very successful day with this event. Everyone had fun trying out all of the products and learning about how they can help refugees in their local area. For more information about Lush's Charity Pot program, you can visit: https://uk.lush.com/tag/charity-pot. 

 

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Peace Begins at Home

Peace Begins at Home

We love finding new ways to connect the Richmond community with the refugees who live right here among us, and what better crowd than folks and families gathered to promote peace, understanding, welcome, and diversity?

 

Community Survey: Health in Henrico County

Community Survey: Health in Henrico County

Did you know that the majority of refugees in the Richmond area are being resettled in Henrico County? ReEstablish Richmond believes that refugee voices matter and that they add value to the greater community. That is why ReEstablish Executive Director, Kate Ayers, sat in on Henrico County's Community Health Assessment, or "CHA".

Reflections of ReR's Summer Intern

Reflections of ReR's Summer Intern

As an anthropology and Arabic student at the University of Richmond, I came into this summer internship looking not only for chances to use my language skills, but also chances to strengthen my cross-cultural learning and communication abilities. I found both, and much more...