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Dear PRSG Family,
Welcome to May and all of the beautiful flowers and trees that are blooming around Oregon. As people prepare their gardens for planting, we are continuously planting seeds for even more ways to work with our refugee families, making sure to take care of their basic needs while working with them as they move towards self-sufficiency.
April was a tough month for many of our clients as they battled with COVID. Nine of our families (that we were made aware of) contracted the Corona virus and many of them have struggled to get better. A few of our clients were hospitalized including an 8-month-old baby. This has been a difficult time for our families but PRSG was with them every step of the way. Meal trains, direct assistance and support were available to the families throughout their healing process, and we are proud of the commitment of our volunteers who stepped up and helped. In total PRSG spent $13,855 on COVID relief and over $16,000 in direct assistance. We cannot do this work without all of our wonderful donors. Thank you for everything.
A huge success story for us this past month was our vaccine informational event and goods giveaway that happened on April 17th, 2021 at Beaverton Foursquare Church. We served over 600 individuals who were able to learn about the different vaccines available to them and get much needed support. Gift cards, clothing, household goods, meat, toys and much more were distributed to families. See the highlight section for pictures from this event. A huge thank you to our volunteers and donors who were instrumental to making this event perfect. Another huge thank you to our partners who made sure that all of our needs were met to help our families. Thank you Oregon Health Authority, Islamic Social Services of Oregon State, Beaverton Foursquare Church, Congregation Neveh Shalom and METRO. We look forward to continuing working together in the future.
Did you know that in the United States, April is National Volunteer Month? It is a month dedicated to recognizing the importance of volunteering and the volunteers who spend countless hours of donated time and service. To us, April may have ended but our appreciation is never-ending. Our volunteers are the bread and butter of our organization and it is because of them that we can do so much. We are grateful to have Tahia Abdulrahman back to manage our volunteer trainings and soon we will start adding new volunteers into our mix. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of our amazing volunteers and those who take the time to prepare them for the work they do with PRSG!
How You Can Help!
Donor support enables us to carry-out essential programming and services for refugee families. Your generosity is what keeps us going. Thank you! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas. If you would like to make monetary donations, please use Donations - PORTLAND REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP (pdxrsg.org).
County Risk Levels: Multnomah and Clackamas Counties have moved back into the high-risk category. Washington County is still at the moderate risk level. This will change April 29-May 6th, all three counties will be moved to high-risk status. Too see all the counties and their risk levels, click here.
COVID-19 Videos: If you are looking for more guidance regarding COVID-19, here is a great resource with over 100 videos in different languages. Check these videos out.
Public Charge: Huge news regarding the public charge rule. It was shut down by the supreme court! This means that immigrants can safely get public benefits that support their health, housing and nutrition without fear that it will affect their immigration status. This is a huge win for the immigrant community, and we are happy to have fought against it.
COVID-19 Scams: Did you know that there are people who are calling others pretending to be vaccine appointment makers or from unemployment. These imposters are asking for person, credit and banking information. This is a scam! Please be aware that no agency will ever call you and ask for your private information without verifying their identify. Be alert and never give out your information to anyone that you do not know or trust. If you think you have been a victim of COVID-19 fraud in anyway, report it immediately online or call 1-800-447-8477. For more information about this, visit www.oig.hhs.gov.
New OHA Vaccine Dashboard Launches: The Oregon Health Authority has created a new public Tableau dashboard which will include daily COVID-19 vaccine updates, how many vaccine doses have been allocated to the state, how many have been delivered to different site types, and how many have been administered. To visit the site, click here.
New Multilingual Resource Page: In addition to the page above, OHA has also launched a multilingual page with information about COVID-19 vaccines. Users can access tools, safety tips, additional resources and much more in 11 different languages. OHA continues to work hard to create greater accessibility to Oregonians. To check out this page, click on the language of choice below.
PRSG cannot thank its volunteers enough for all they do! We want to highlight the amazing work that our volunteers did during our April 17th Vaccine informational event and goods giveaway. We were able to serve more than 115 families and 600 individuals. We could not have done it without all of the amazing help and dedication of volunteers. Thank you all. If you are interested in helping out for future events or learning how to become more involved with PRSG, check out our website at www.pdxrsg.org. For more information about this event, check out the highlights section of the newsletter.
Vaccine Event: PRSG will host, co-host and partner on four upcoming vaccine clinics specifically targeting the refugee and immigrant communities. In addition, people who work with the refugee and immigrant population are welcome to come take the vaccine. See the table below for dates, locations and times.
As one of the very first volunteers to join PRSG, Doaa Elhaggan is still going strong and has been a wonderful source of information and direction for PRSG families. Currently she serves as a core volunteer and as the chair of the benefits program. Doaa joined in 2016 after meeting a refugee family that was struggling to navigate through the daily challenges of their new life in America. Doaa knew she wanted to make a difference to this family and others and was hoping PRSG would help her do that. Doaa says that working closely with families and being a core volunteer with one family has helped her realize how difficult it is to be a refugee and how much work has to be done to help undo the months or years of trauma. She understood that this was necessary for the families to adapt to a new environment with all its challenges and become independent. When asked about what she loves most about volunteering, Doaa said,
“What I enjoy the most is being able to help families with big milestones, like getting the children situated in schools, success in getting them benefits, especially the ones with disabilities, and see their health and quality of life improve. The most joy is when I see them living comfortably and independently.”
Doaa has had many amazing experiences while working with the families that we support. One family, who has lived through so much, has been able to really thrive with Doaa’s help and support. She shares that her core family, who has two adorable girls with disabilities, has come a long way. When they came to America, the girls were very fragile, and their health was deteriorating by the day. Doaa helped this family by focusing on the girls and starting them in school, working with the school nurse to get them eyeglasses, wheelchairs, and therapy. In addition, Doaa had to jump through many hoops to get approval for social security supplemental income and enter the county's caregiving program. If that wasn’t enough, Doaa worked closely with their pediatrician and generous donors to get them the medical supplies they needed, including expensive nutritional drinks, all of which was very challenging but rewarding. Once she had the children situated, Doaa focused on the parents and helped them learn English, get their driving license, and a secure job. It was not easy and there were many ups and downs, but it is inspiring to see the family thriving now.
When Doaa is not running around for PRSG, she keeps herself busy with her family and many hobbies. Doaa is happily married and has two amazing kids who have participated in many PRSG functions. She is an avid runner, hiker, and health enthusiast. She loves volunteering, travel, coffee, chocolate and reading, which she wishes she had more time for. If that was not enough, Doaa works full time as a construction project manager with the Beaverton School District. Wow! What a wonder woman.
Doaa believes that the work PRSG does is valuable and says that as long as PRSG exists, she will be a part of it. We are incredibly lucky to have you as part of our team, Doaa! Thank you for all you do.
On April 17th of this year, PRSG, with the help of its amazing partners and donors, was able to help supply over 100 families with much needed food, clothing, household goods, gift cards, vaccine information, PPE, and so much more. Thank you to our amazing volunteers who were the main reason this event was such a huge success. A special thank you to our partners, Oregon Health Authority, Islamic Social Services of Oregon State, Beaverton Foursquare Church, Congregation Neveh Shalom, and METRO for all your support. Here are just some photos of the event. Enjoy!
Myanmar or Burma: officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Population: 54 million (as of 2017)
Myanmar/Burma is a country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest. Buddhism is the most practiced religion in Burma (87.9%), followed by Christianity (6.2%), then Islam (4.3%).
An armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) escalated into attacks on civilians in Rakhine State. Gross violations of human rights forced more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring countries, especially Bangladesh. The largest refugee camp in the world houses over 1 million Rohingya in Cox Bazaar, Bangladesh. In April of 2019, PRSG’s Dr. Omar Reda visited the refugee camp and said it was one of the most humbling experiences of his life.
Although the situation was hopeless for so many, he said that many of the refugees found solace and healing in their faith and family. Here in Portland, there are hundreds of Rohingya refugee families that struggle, but organizations such as Rohingya Youth Association of Portland (RYAP) and PRSG are able to provide support. In the photo to the right, RYAP head Amir Hussain leads the efforts for a food distribution for Rohingya families on April 18th, 2021.
With all the struggles that people have faced in Burma, their unique culture is worth celebrating. From food to clothing, the Burmese culture is rich with flavor and color. Burmese food is characterized by an extensive use of fish products such as fish sauce, ngapi (fermented seafood) and dried prawn. In addition, the region is famous for its curries, salads, and soups traditionally eaten with white rice. Noodles come in a variety of types in Burmese cuisine, including fried or dry noodles, noodle soups, and noodle salads, as well as Indian breads. Traditional Burmese fritters and traditional snacks known as mont have also benefited from street food culture. Lucky for us there are several restaurant choices that serve Burmese food in Portland. Check some of them out here, here and 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
Our email list is a great way for you to stay up to date on important PRSG news. If you aren’t receiving emails from us and would like to in the future, please send an email to Yasser@pdxrsg.org or use our contact link on our website.
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