Refugees

  • Bringing the Private Sector and the Peace Corps Community Together see more

    NPCA, in partnership with Northeastern University's Cultural Agility Leadership Lab (CALL), has created new opportunities for returned Peace Corps volunteers, while bringing private sector expertise to strengthen the capacity of local humanitarian development organizations in Thailand and other countries. The partnership matches RPCVs with skills-based corporate volunteers from Cigna, a global health service company, to deliver technical assistance to local NGOs, while also enhancing the cultural agility of the corporate volunteers. 

    For the past three years, Cigna has sent its rising leaders to Indonesia and Thailand through CALL to learn from and understand more on the health care needs of the Indonesian and Thai people.  Cigna and CALL interact with health care at many levels including the villages, government, and private hospitals, as well as healthcare NGOs throughout the country.  This year, the ITLP program worked in Chiang Mai with various NGOs under the umbrella of the Raks Thai Foundation, focusing on health populations including HIV/AIDS, drug-user groups, refugee and migratory groups, and youth development groups.  

    Joel Saldana (RPCV Thailand 2012-2014), a second year RPCV participant in the program, shared his thoughts. "It's been a great opportunity to work with Americans from the corporate world who are trying to learn about Thai people.  It's most fulfilling to have the 'aha' moments when you have that meaningful exchange through food, smiles, or a simple greeting," Joel is one of three RPCVs who accompanied nine Cigna skills-based volunteers on their short-term assignments in Thailand. RPCVs serve as cultural coaches and also provide technical guidance and support to the work undertaken. 

    Joel observed that "Cigna is putting their money where their commitments are—in developing a workforce that is ready to take on global challenges, is culturally agile, and is attempting to understand a little part of the world."  Cigna participants work with their assigned NGOs to help scale their success in program management, operations, or project solutions.  In a very short time frame, they learn how to work with Thai people, understand the organizations needs, and assist with their challenges.  

    NPCA envisions expanding the program to eventually field over 100 corporate volunteers in multiple countries, particularly linking them to NGOs where PCVs or RPCVs are involved. Forthcoming projects will field RPCVs and corporate volunteers from Johnson & Johnson on short-term assignments in Peru, Mexico and Guatemala. 

    For more information, please contact our International Programs division:  CALLCoordinator@PeaceCorpsConnect.org.

  • Alan Ruiz Terol posted an article
    The Cincinnati Area Returned Volunteers are supporting six refugees. see more

    By Alan Ruiz Terol

    A journey ended when Bana, Adnan and their four children arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio. They had fled war in their home country, Syria, and were granted asylum by the U.S. government. Now they faced a new challenge; how to start a new life in a new country?

    The Cincinnati Area Returned Volunteers (CARV) have been mentoring the family since mid-September. The foremost priority was to find a job for Adnan, the father. He is a shoemaker and also has sewing skills—and yet, he was willing to do any work that did not require English. Thanks to great networking, CARV was able to find him a position in his chosen field. 

    “We help them achieve self-sufficiency,” says Susan Robinson, a member of the group. “We know how important it is for people to do things for themselves.”

    CARV members have been visiting the family weekly to tutor the children and help the mom with English. They found several Arabic speakers to help with the translation and have taken the family members to multiple doctor appointments. They have also shared outings to the park and enjoyed pumpkin carving for Halloween. Recently, six CARV members and their family and friends invited Bana and Adnan's family for their first Thanksgiving dinner in America.

    Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio is the volunteer agency responsible for refugee resettlement in the area. They provide housing, medical screening, English and employment lessons and case management. CARV members have been helping them for the past year. Eventually, the agency gave CARV a greater responsibility and asked them to mentor a Syrian family. “They were aware that we had a strong RPCV group and that we would be able to work as a team,” Robinson says. 

    The CARV group serves as an example of how RPCVs can help refugees integrate to American society. According to Robinson, there are many ways people can help refugees. “I would encourage people to meet volags (Voluntary Agencies) working in their area,” she says. 

    A new NPCA affiliate group, the Peace Corps Community for the Support of Refugees, is working to connect members of our community who are willing to help with local agencies resettling refugees across the nation. Please contact them if you're interested in making a difference.

    The names of the Syrian family have been changed in order to protect their privacy.

  • Megan Patrick posted an article
    Top 10 events in 2016 for the Peace Corps community. see more

    The Peace Corps community experienced a tremendous year — one that closes an era and presents an open future. Together in 2016, we reinforced our connection and shared experience; we advocated for the right to serve; we created positive impact both domestically and abroad. In the 55th year of America's greatest institution, Peace Corps Volunteers expanded programs into new countries, while Returned Peace Corps Volunteers united to meet new global challenges in affiliate groups. The following list reflects closure, new beginnings, and our community's diverse acts toward Peace Corps values in 2016:

     

    • NPCA published the final print Peace Corps Community Directory, and provided an online platform for all PCVs, RPCVs and Peace Corps staff to connect with individuals and affiliate groups.
    • Peace Corps announced historical new programs in Myanmar and Vietnam
    • With firm conviction that RPCVs have the cross-cultural skills, adaptability, and commitment to make a significant contribution in the global humanitarian effort, Peace Corps Community for the Support of Refugees became an official NPCA affiliate group.
    • With the retirement of Congressman Sam Farr (D-CA) and the defeat of Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), just two RPCVs are left in Congress, the lowest level of representation in almost 40 years.
    • Peace Corps unveiled a new look to engage the next generation of service-minded Americans.
    • In one day, over 230 individuals arrived on Capitol Hill to tell Congress that America and the world need a bigger, better Peace Corps. *To read more about NPCA's 2016 advocacy wins click here. 
    • The community celebrated the 55th anniversary of the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. Sept 21-25, 2016.
    • NPCA transformed into a mission-driven organization with the global impact of the Community Fund.
    • Carrie Hessler-Radelet served her final year as the 19th Director of the Peace Corps. **Share your memories and photos here in gratitude for her service.
    • Donald Trump became President-elect of the United States. A 115th Congress and a Trump Administration present a new political landscape. 

     

    Navigating the future for the Peace Corps depends on all of us. With your support and engagement, we will continue shaping history together in 2017.