PRSG Newsletter March 2021
Dear PRSG Family,
February was packed with a lot of difficulties for many of our clients that we are proud to say, PRSG was ready for. Let’s start with the huge winter storm of 2021. More than 200,000 Oregonians were left without power for several days and some up to a week, including many of our refugee clients. PRSG was able to place families in hotels, get them emergency rations, and make sure they were safe until they could go home. In addition, PRSG provided over $17,000 in direct assistance for rent, utilities, and other important needs. This was all made possible by you, our supporters!
In community news, PRSG is honored to have amazing community supporters who step up and come through when we need them most. This month our very own Nura Elmagbari gave a presentation about refugees to high school students (via Zoom) at the Portland Waldorf High School. After hearing about all of the needs refugees have, the students jumped into action and started a donation drive that has been very successful thus far. Thank you Wibke Fretz for sharing your classroom with us.
In addition, The Baha’is of the greater Portland area, as part of their Ayyam-i-Ha service activities, organized a donation drive on behalf of PRSG that collected much needed items for our families. For us, this is the true definition of community and family. We cannot do this work alone and knowing that there are people in the world who are willing to put so much effort into helping those with less, is heartwarming and strengthens our faith in humanity.
Lastly, PRSG is so proud of the Census Project team as they have officially launched the Client Census Survey. This survey will not only help us collect accurate data regarding our clients, it will also help us to better serve them. All new and existing clients will be required to fill out this census to be eligible for resources and services from PRSG, especially those programs supported by federal grants. Thank you, Zac, Xavier, Lisa, Megan, Cheri, Tom, and Emmanuel, for the countless volunteer hours you have put into this project.
As always, thank you for your continued support!
How You Can Help!
Thank you to all of our donors. Your generosity is what keeps us going. Of course, it is not all about money. We are always looking for new volunteers to fulfill many of the roles we have at PRSG. To apply, check out our website and fill out the application.
If you have fundraising ideas or would like to host a goods donations drive, we would love to hear from you. Send an email to email@example.com with your ideas. If you would like to make monetary donations, please use Donations - PORTLAND REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP (pdxrsg.org).
Vaccine: For more information about who is currently eligible to take the and where you can get vaccinated, click on this link to learn more. Starting March 1st, Oregonians 65years and older will be eligible for the vaccine.
Vaccine Questions? If you have questions about the vaccine, reach out directly. Here are several ways to get your questions answered.
As 2021 continues to move forward, please do not forget to visit our website for all up to date resources and important information to best help our clients. If you are a core volunteer, you will soon be receiving a link for the Client Survey to share with the family you are supporting. Please take the time to work with your refugee family to fill this out completely as it will help us to better serve them. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our office manager at Yasser@pdxrsg.org. As always, be safe and do not forget to check in regularly with your clients to make sure they have no emergency needs.
Resources and Upcoming Events
Rent Moratorium: The new deadline to complete the eviction hardship form is June 30, 2021. We have already had to address many eviction notices. Landlords have the right to send eviction notices but do not have the right to evict anyone if you submit the hardship form. This is why it is imperative that tenants submit a written declaration of financial hardship to their landlord using this form: Declaration of Financial Hardship for Eviction Protection ASAP. If you are a refugee client or know of one that is facing eviction, please reach out to us immediate.
COVID-19 Temp Paid Leave Program: This program is still accepting applications! It is available to people who are sick or symptomatic, but do not qualify for COVID-19-related paid sick leave or have COVID-19-related paid time off. Eligible employees must fill out this online form.
Several new low- and mixed-income housing complexes have opened in the Greater Portland Area.
Do you or someone you know receive SNAP benefits? If so, did the latest winter storm cause you or someone you know to lose food due to the power outage?
If yes, you may be eligible to have SNAP dollars added to your Oregon EBT card by applying here.
The deadline to turn in applications is MARCH 5!
It's Tax Season
If you need help filing your taxes, you can qualify to get help for free from www.cashoregon.org. See the flyer below for more information and how to begin the process. Click here for all the appropriate forms.
Meet Dr. Omar Reda
One of the most important and valuable programs that PRSG offers is the mental health wellness program, which includes our monthly psycho-social potlucks (currently on hold due to COVID). These programs create space for refugees to share and learn from each other as well as learn tools to help them navigate the emotional and psychological struggles that so many refugees face. These programs would have never been possible without the guidance and dedication of Dr. Omar Reda, a psychiatrist, who serves as the PRSG psycho-social consultant. When asked how long Dr. Reda has been with PRSG and why he joined, he shared the following,
“I am blessed to have witnessed the birth of PRSG. It is a humbling and exciting experience to be able to join the journey and watch a miracle in the making. I am in awe of how what was once a dream has turned into a beautiful reality.”
Dr. Reda says that he is impressed by how PRSG focuses on the importance of a comprehensive and holistic approach of how to care for the whole human, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Dr. Reda has a special interest and professional expertise working with the psychosocial needs of refugees and trauma survivors so PRSG was a perfect fit. He also says that he truly enjoys the human connection, especially the monthly potlucks (safe spaces) and the children’s art and play activities. Dr. Reda has had a profound impact on the clients that PRSG serve. When asked about a specific case or situation that has inspired him, he replied, “I have seen many traumatized children regain their voice and be able to smile again because of the love they receive through PRSG.”
Dr. Reda says that he is a huge fan and advocate of family bonding and healing. He understands the journey of refugees as he himself experienced the trauma of forced migration and asylum-seeking. His personal experiences have helped him connect to the refugees on a deeper level which has helped our clients deal with the trauma they faced before, during and after their journey to America.
On a personal note, Dr. Reda says that he is trying to build a future for himself and his small family here in the United States, while helping his big family in his home country of Libya. Dr. Reda is the middle child of 12 siblings and family is especially important to him. He is a husband and proud father of 3 beautiful girls who he says are the “Light of my eyes and the joy of my heart.” He also has 3 adorable kitties that keep the family on their toes. Outside of PRSG, Dr. Reda is very busy as an inpatient psychiatrist with Providence hospital as well as a community leader who appreciates working with families and youths. In his free time, he enjoys writing, soccer, and spending time with his loved ones. He loves traditional Arab food, hot chocolate, and binging the Turkish hit drama Dirilis Ertugrul. Dr. Reda is the founder of Project Untangled and the author of many books including On the Shoulders of the Prophet, Generation of ISIS, and Untangled. Dr. Reda says he plans to stay with PRSG for as long as he is needed. Thank you, Dr. Reda, for all you do!
Afghanistan – Population: 38.04 million
Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, this country is located in Central Asia. Afghanistan is nearly the size of Texas and borders China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Although the country is large, ongoing conflicts have created suffering across the nation and a refugee crisis that started over 40 years ago. According to Amnesty International, Afghans started leaving their country to flee the brutality of the Communist-led Taraki and Amin governments.
Following the Soviet invasion on Christmas Eve in 1979, the numbers rose steadily. Over the next four years, that number increased to more than five million refugees in Pakistan and Iran and 2.5 million in other countries around the world. Through it all, Afghans have persevered to share their rich culture with the world.
Afghanistan has a rich history derived from the different occupying forces that have invaded this land over the centuries including the Sassanians, Arabs, Mongols, Persians, Soviets and most recently, the United States. Afghanistan has been embroiled in war for centuries but has been able to hang on to much of its’ heritage and unique culture. The main languages spoken in Afghanistan, Pashtu and Dari (Persian), are Indo-European languages from the Iranian sub-family. Experts believe that there are over 40 different languages spoken in Afghanistan and 200 different dialects. When visiting Afghanistan men will most commonly be seen in the traditional outfit called peraahan (shirt/pants) along with a turban or Pakol (hat) on the head. Traditional women wear loose-fitting dresses called tunbaan with pants underneath and a head scarf called a chador. In cities like Kabul, Afghans are choosing to wear more westernized clothing such as jeans and t-shirts and will leave the traditional clothing for special events such as weddings or dinner parties.
The country’s main crops, wheat, maize, barley, and rice are used heavily in Afghan cuisine. Native fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and whey, are served alongside these staples as well as used in cooking. The mouthwatering national dish of Afghanistan is called the Kabuli Palaw, a dish made with steamed rice, raisins, carrots, and beef or lamb (Click on each image for step-by-step recipes). Another important and beloved dish sure to be found on the menu is Aushak which is similar to a dumpling. Traditional fillings for this delicious Afghan food include chopped spring onions or gandana, a form of leek grown in almost every province of Afghanistan. Aushak, also known as ashak, is traditionally eaten with a sauce made of minced beef or lamb meat and chakkah, a thick strained yogurt sauce with garlic and fresh mint.
For more amazing foods from Afghanistan, click on this link. Lucky for us, if you are not the best cook but just need to try this amazing food, there is a 5-star food truck located here in Portland that is famous for its authentic Afghan cuisine called Taste of Afghan. To check it out, click here.
Website – www.pdxrsg.org
Information – Admin@pdxrsg.org
President – Nura@pdxrsg.org
Vice President – Jenny@pdxrsg.org
Treasurer – Eva@pdxrsg.org
Programming – Tahia@pdxrsg.org
Head of Refugee Affairs – Fatein@pdxrsg.org
Office Manager – Yasser@pdxrsg.org
Tutoring and Educational Services - Education@pdxrsg.org
Events – Social@pdxrsg.org
Goods Donations – Donations@pdxrsg.org
Office & Mailing Address - 10175 SW Barbur Blvd #102B, Portland, OR 97219
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