Slavic churches across the Treasure Valley and Pacific Northwest are coming together to collect resources for Ukrainian refugees. Good Word Mission member Tina Polishchuk shared this update:
The reaction from Idahoans for assisting refugees has been incredible. Folks are rallying together in supporting those that are displaced.
There is currently a humanitarian aid drive in Meridian. This has grown exponentially, and is quickly expanding across the valley.
Idahoans along with the rest of the world are shaken to see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, forcing families to separate, civilians to fight, and over a million people to flee the country.
Many Idahoans are wondering how they can help and if our state is preparing to receive more refugees from Ukraine.
Idaho has historically resettled people from the former Soviet Union facing persecution. Nearly 200 Ukrainian refugees have resettled in Idaho in the past two decades, including five people this year.
As we watch this unfolding crisis with heavy hearts, we do not anticipate a large increase of refugees from Ukraine to come to Idaho in the coming weeks. Organizations in countries neighboring Ukraine are working diligently to provide shelter and necessities. Keep reading for ideas on how to support them.
Edafe Okporo, who will deliver the keynote address at the Idaho Conference on Refugees, shared some meaningful insights with the Boise Weekly in a Q&A published this week.
Edafe is the author of Asylum: A Memoir & Manifesto and founder of Refuge America, which helps LGBTQ people who are fleeing persecution. Edafe himself fled this same type of persecution in Nigeria before seeking asylum in New York in 2016.
"The U.S. has allowed me to rebuild my life from the scratch," Edafe told the Boise Weekly. "It would be a miss if the book was only about pain. It was mostly about the joy of finding community, and the welcoming messages of Americans who gave me their space, offered me hope and an optimistic end to a tragic beginning."
The 14th annual Idaho Conference on Refugees is moving to a hybrid model this year, offering both in-person and virtual options.
You're invited to the two-day event on Feb. 28 and March 1, either in person at Boise State University's Student Union Building or online through Zoom. Registration is open through Feb. 18.
The goal of the conference is to connect community members from diverse backgrounds and provide training for professionals and volunteers who work with refugee and immigrant populations.
To our dear friends and partners,
Thank you for helping create an Idaho where people seeking refuge can find hope and belonging.
Our community’s support has been so important during the past few months of turmoil in Afghanistan, where people like you and me suddenly found themselves torn away from their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.
It breaks our hearts to see anyone have to flee their country. Together, we can support their transition to Idaho and create opportunities for all of us to thrive.
After years of record low admissions nationally, Idaho is back on track to welcome more than a thousand women, men and children from around the world in the coming year.
We’re thankful for this growth and know there is work to do. As you consider your year-end giving, we ask that you keep us in mind during this critical time.
The Idaho Office for Refugees coordinates Idaho’s resettlement efforts and builds strong partnerships to better serve people from refugee backgrounds.
We recently partnered with City of Good in Boise, which delivers warm meals from local restaurants three times a week to families from Afghanistan staying in temporary housing.
We're also working closely with Glocal Community Partners to organize outings so newly arrived families and individuals don't feel isolated in an unfamiliar place.
After a day of food and games in the park, one man messaged saying:
I have a special thanks for your group. It was an amazing day for me. It was a long time ago that I went to a picnic. Even I forgot the time. We spent a really good day.
At a time when one’s life has been turned upside down, gathering with new friends and enjoying some fresh air and a meal that’s reminiscent of home can bring a powerful sense of comfort and community.
When we come together, Idahoans old and new connect in meaningful ways. We invite you to continue being a part of this life-changing work with a year-end financial gift to the Idaho Office for Refugees.
Your generosity is deeply felt. You can donate online at idahorefugees.org.
Thank you for being here with us.
Director & State Refugee Coordinator, Idaho Office for Refugees
Early Bird Registration for the 14th annual Idaho Conference on Refugees - Belonging Begins with Us is now open!
The conference will be held at Boise State University Feb. 28 - March 1.
The Early Bird rate is only $90 but ends Jan. 21. Don’t delay! Learn more here!
Workshops: The conference offers workshops that provide new skills and best practices in health, education, cross-cultural communication, self-sufficiency, and more. A list of workshops will be available in the coming weeks.
In addition to workshops and strategy sessions, the conference will feature multiple panels and plenaries, an acclaimed keynote speaker, and an evening reception.
Don't miss out on Early Bird registration! For more information, click here.
*We care about the health and safety of our community. Detailed COVID policies are available on the conference website and will be updated as the COVID situation changes.
Here's an exciting announcement from our partners at the Catholic Charities of Idaho:
A new community partnership in eastern Idaho will help resettle a small number of Afghan allies and refugees who have arrived in the U.S. seeking safety from the Taliban as part of Operation Allies Welcome.
Catholic Charities of Idaho, as part of its mission to support human well-being and in partnership with the Idaho Office for Refugees, is leading a community partnership program in Pocatello that will resettle a small number of Afghan refugees in this time of urgent need.
The program is prepared to welcome up to 25 Afghan refugees to the Pocatello area in the coming months. The Pocatello program has welcomed 7 arrivals so far in December.
Catholic Charities of Idaho, or CCI, is an affiliate of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, one of nine agencies nationwide that collaborates with the State Department to resettle refugees in the United States. CCI is working closely with eastern Idaho community groups, faith congregations, businesses, nonprofits and local leaders to respond to this call for help. Local employers have indicated that they will assist with current job openings.
“We’re honored, ready and willing to assist with this effort, even in a modest way, by responding to this call and showing compassion to families and individuals in great need,” said Doug Alles, Catholic Charities of Idaho Executive Director.
Scott Pearhill, who serves as a deacon at the Pocatello parish, noted that the Afghans are “our allies who have supported our national security with their very lives, making deep personal sacrifices, who now need our help.” Deacon Pearhill said it is an honor for the community to “be asked to support these brave men, women and children who are trying to make a new life in our country and in our city. I’m proud of Pocatello for its openness and generosity.”
The Refugee Speakers Bureau is excited to present Holiday Memories From Around the Globe, featuring different perspectives on how holidays are celebrated in other parts of the world.
Join us virtually from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. Click here to register for free through Eventbrite.
Hear from our engaging speakers who grew up in another part of the world and are now living in Idaho:
The Refugee Speakers Bureau is a program of the Idaho Office for Refugees with the mission to bridge cultures through storytelling. This special holiday event is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and StoryCenter.
When you donate to the Idaho Office for Refugees, your dollars support refugee farmers and professionals, young families, and new community members who are learning English.
On this Giving Tuesday, we invite you to learn more about our programs and consider making a donation here.
We love this compassionate community and are so grateful for your support! Here's a look at our programs that benefit from donations: