TIS Welcomes our Second Refugee Family

TIS is Welcoming our Second Refugee Family

TIS members have been generous in supporting our first refugee family who came here from Burma via Malaysia, by donating items, money, and time. Thank you to all those who have helped.

We have recently been matched to a second family that arrived in San Diego on September 12th. This family of eight had been living in refugee camps in Uganda for over 10 years, after having to flee the Republic of the Congo. The children range in age from one year to early twenties. They are so excited to be in the United States. Fortunately, several family members speak enough English to allow basic communication. We are slowly learning their whole story. JFS has found temporary housing through a non-TIS donor. JFS is also helping them to apply for temporary assistance while they improve their English, and while the three adults find employment.

Our "contact team" for the second family consists of Jenny Winkler (team leader), Anne Heller, and Phil Lorang. Our team has already helped with transportation to appointments, cell phone setup, food shopping, and playing with the younger children. Sisterhood has generously donated a Walmart gift card for the family, which we have given them. When they are ready, we will take them on a shopping trip to Walmart. Looking ahead, we'll be helping the family enroll the children in school, get identification cards, get internet service in place, practice English, navigate public transportation, and look for jobs.

We're hoping JFS gets the family set up in a permanent apartment quickly. JFS will procure basic furniture, some of which will be paid for by a donation from the TIS Tzedakah Fund (like TIS did for the first family). You can help the family save its limited family assistance income to pay rent and other expenses by donating any of the following items in new or good condition. We'd like to get items in the next 10 days, so we know what not to shop for. Click here to let us know what you can donate and to arrange a drop off or pick up. If you prefer to let us do the shopping, click here to make a cash donation.

What our family needs:

Couch pillows
An area rug
An end table
A desk lamp
A table lamp

TIS was originally matched with a refugee family as part of the "Friendly Match" program of Jewish Family Services. We’re happy to welcome our “adopted” family from Malaysia. Take a few minutes to learn more about them…

The family consists of two parents, a 24 year-old son, a 19 year-old son, and two daughters age 12 and 5. They have a cousin who lives in San Diego.

The family has settled into a 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment, located for them by JFS.

The leadership of TIS, with support from the most frequent participants in the daily minyan, approved a donation from the TIS Minyan Fund to help pay for essential furniture for our first family. JFS purchased the items through a friendly and supportive furniture store in Lemon Grove. The TIS donation preserved more of the government-provided refugee subsidy for use in paying rent and other essentials. Sisterhood has donated Walmart gift cards for the family to help them with their household and personal needs. Another gift card for the family was made possible by generous donations from individual TIS members.

Meet the first family we welcomed:

At 17 years old, the father moved to Malaysia from Burma with his parents. He resided in Malaysia from more than 30 years. The father worked as an electrician, but also did painting and plumbing work.

The mother is originally from Indonesia and moved to Malaysia at some point in time.

The children were all born in Malaysia, but were unable to receive Malaysian citizenship because their parents were immigrants.

Their statelessness blocked their participation in normal life in Malaysia and was their motivation to seek admission to the U.S. under the refugee program. While in Malaysia, they lived more in villages than in cities.

The older son is fairly fluent in English, and at ease with phones, computers, etc. The father and younger brother understand English but don't speak English as readily.

Both sons are enrolled in a program, San Diego Newcomers Project, run by Catholic Charities. The program provides them each with financial assistance from the federal and state governments for 12 months while they are training and searching for jobs. This may be the only source of income the family has currently.

The parents and the two girls will be enrolled in a program run by the County of San Diego, Welfare to Work. It's the local version of a state program, CalWorks. It also provides cash while the parents are looking for work. They need various identification documents to enroll but aren’t quite done with the process. This program has a lifetime limit of 60 months of benefits.

Make a donation:

If you would like to make a financial contribution, we can purchase additional useful gift cards to assist the family.

You may click here to make an online contribution or call the office.

Additional Resources from JFS for Volunteers working with Refugee Resettlement

Switchboard (a resource hub for refugee service providers) has links to many webinar recordings for working with refugees including;

Check out Switchboard and their resources

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