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February 2018 News & Highlights

Myth-Busting Through Film

February 8th, the IRC in Sacramento hosted a screening of the documentary film 8 Borders, 8 Days at the 24th Street Theater. Following the film itself, IRC staffers answered questions from the audience around myths and misconceptions that are commonly believed about refugee resettlement, and in particular around the Syrian refugee crisis. The 60 minute documentary follows the path of a Syrian mother and her two children as they flee across 8 borders to find safety in a German refugee center, an increasingly common story for Syrian families.
Refugee resettlement currently faces a crisis in the United States. With the travel ban and a historically low refugee cap, the IRC is predicting that only 21,292 refugees will be resettled in the United States this year, 77% below the historic average. Syrian refugees are some of the most affected by this shift. Last year by the end of January thousands of Syrian refugees had been resettled in the U.S.--this year that number is thirty-four. The Syrian mother in 8 Borders, 8 Days was denied resettlement to the U.S. forcing her to take a raft across the sea with her children. While they have reached safety at a German refugee center, they are left unable to plan for the future. Refugee families in camps can be left in limbo, safe but without freedom. Waiting for an opportunity to start their lives, many of them are unable to work or send their children to school.

These types of community events give us a chance to bring awareness to the refugee crisis, break down and discuss fear people might have thanks to misinformation about refugees, and help make #RefugeesWelcome. 

A Special Day for Love

This month's VESL Assembly covered all of February's major holidays! Students helped each other to define Valentine's day, labeling it as "a special day for love" or "love you day." One student shared that each year he and his wife take a photo together on Valentine's Day to add to their collection.

Students also learned about President's Day and Black History month. They talked about the most famous Presidents and their achievements, as well as important African-American icons. One student presented a two-dollar bill to the teacher, asking her which President was on the rare bill. (In case you're stumped, it's Thomas Jefferson!)

VESL assemblies are a monthly opportunity for students to socialize while learning about the U.S. culture and holidays. They discuss, share, and celebrate each other's successes while practicing the new language.

IRC's Immigration Department serves not only refugee and asylee clients, but also any low income immigrant population in the area who needs help navigating the process.

Staff Recharge

All four of the IRC's Northern California offices came together for a staff appreciation event this month in downtown Sacramento. Staff members enjoyed lunch together and reflected back on the year's successes.

Special guest speaker Lou Bergholz facilitated a workshop on resiliency, and learning to adapt to adversity. Staffers discussed the importance of taking time to care for both themselves and one another. 

Even with disappointments and obstacles coming out of Washington, it's vital that everyone invested in the fight for refugees stay positive and know that this work matters! 
Samia Quraishi was awarded February's VESL Student of the Month. Her teachers shared that she is always willing to help others and comes into every class with a smile. Congratulations, Samia!

Staff Spotlight: Kevin

Kevin is one of our Immigration Caseworkers. He helps clients to navigate the complex world of U.S. immigration, assisting them every step of the way. Starting at the IRC in Sacramento in 2015 as a volunteer, he joined the team just six months later. Kevin thinks Resettlement and Immigration are important because he believes that a diverse society is a beautiful society.
This month, Eastern Ghouta has faced a sharp increase in hostilities with reports of hundreds being killed in attacks on the city, including one hospital worker and six patients killed in an IRC supported partner hospital.

The IRC covers salaries and basic operating costs, as well as medicines and medical supplies to five partner-run medical facilities in Eastern Ghouta. However, resources are still stretched thin with the increasing number of attacks.

Visit the IRC website to find out how you can help end the crisis in Syria.

Get Involved with IRC Sac This Month

BUY Bike Gear!  We have recently received an influx of bike donations and we need safety and maintenance gear to go along with them! We are looking for new helmets, headlights, locks, and tire pumps. You can drop off on Mondays and Tuesdays 2-4PM at 2020 Hurley Way, Suite 420 in Sacramento.
ATTEND Save the Date: Thursday, March 8th!  Celebrate International Women's Day with us! The IRC in Sacramento has worked for the past year to expand our Women's services to ease the transition for refugee women into their new life.  
VOLUNTEER  One-time Volunteer Opportunities If you work full-time, you can still get involved at the IRC in Sacramento! We have Saturday empowerment workshops and New Roots farm work days. To join the list and hear about these monthly opportunities, email

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International Rescue Committee · 2020 Hurley Way, Ste 420 · Sacramento, CA 95825 · USA

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