Over 20 million refugees all over the world are searching for safe countries to inhabit. They not only need to find new homes, but they also need help in order to adapt to their new environment.
Last Monday, the Student United Way at IUPUI invited Exodus on campus to talk about the importance of helping refugees in the community and how we as a student body can do so.
The definition of a refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. The amount of refugees in need of help is only increasing, and even reaching numbers comparable to that in World War II.
Lauren Martin, a member of the Student United Way at IUPUI, wanted to show the student body how poverty has different faces around the country.
“This is an example of poverty in a different way. You don’t necessarily think about refugees that come over here and the poverty they face,” Martin said.
What many don’t know about the refugee process is that there are organizations that serve primarily to help refugees when they come over to America. These organizations help teach refugees English, provide money for expenses,as many of the refugees are coming with nothing, and assist in any way they can to help refugees get on their feet. Exodus is a prime example of this kind of organization.
Katey Humphries Exodus representative, teaches employment readiness training to refugees. She helps teach them about what to expect in interviews, how to use the bus systems for transportation, and helps them with their resumes.
The Executive Order #2 that just went into effect last month halts arrivals from Iraq, six predominantly Muslim nations for 90 days, and puts a 120-day hold on refugee resettlement from all countries. Exodus is starting to reap the consequences of this order.
“We saw an immediate decrease in our expected numbers for the Fiscal year, which is Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 of the following year,” Humphries said. “We were expecting to have about 1,000 refugees come to Exodus, but now only have about 465 people.”
Martin had connections to Exodus, and knew this would be the perfect organization to bring to the attention of others.
“In America, we have a really heavy legacy for volunteering. At IUPUI, we have such a melting pot community and a more empathetic generation, so when I passed the idea around, it got a positive response,” Martin said. “A lot of people told me they thought it would be great to have Exodus come out and share with us.”
Even with the recent executive order, Exodus is overwhelmed with the number of people who want to come and volunteer. While Humphries emphasized the gratitude of Exodus, it’s been hard to fit volunteers with tasks as many of the jobs are being cut, and not many refugees are able to come over.
“We really hope that even with our limited tasks, people will still advocate for us. You can do that through writing letters to our representatives, dispelling myths about the reputations of refugees, and by being a friend,” Humphries explained.
The Student United Way is hoping to bring Exodus back in the future, and that IUPUI will unite in bringing awareness for refugees.
To find more information about Exodus and what they do, click on the link provided here: https://www.exodusrefugee.org/