About 40 Syrian refugee families with more than 170 children, age 2 months to 18 years, have arrived to Albany, NY from refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey since April 2016. Most of the families experienced atrocities beyond imagination while in Syria and during the journey to refugee camps. They then waited in refugee camps for 2.5-4 years to get visas to enter the USA, the dream land. Unfortunately, the reality of this dream land did not live up to their expectations. Many families live in abhorrent conditions. They live in incredibly cramped apartments, many infested with mice; extremely hot (no air conditioning), or cold (no heat or bad weatherization); no washers/dryers; there is hardly anything to cook, eat, and clean with. Furthermore, there is a serious communication issue due to the language barrier.
Syrian families who survived a dictatorial regime and war atrocities, and risked their life to get to the USA are motivated to work very hard to provide their children with decent lives. They would be a great asset to our community if we give them the basic assistance required to settle in dignity. If we nurture them and their children, they will become productive members of the society.
Settlement and adaptation of an immigrant group with a different language and culture are not easy tasks. Capital District volunteers have been very generous and are providing excellent support and friendship to the new families. They are making a difference in the lives of many. If you wish to be part of our dedicated group of volunteers or to contribute in other ways, please contact us.