COVID-19 Relief Fund
NFR identified several organizations that work directly with refugees in Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Upstate New York. Grants from this fund have helped families put food on the table, buy medicines, pay utilities, and pay rent. So far we have distributed $23,000 to 73 families, that's 265 people, through the following organizations:
Keeping Our Promise Rochester, One World One Love, Elena's Light, Welcome Home, RDJ RefugeeShelter, RIF Asylum Support, and Queer Detainee Empowerment Project.
We recently received a grant from United Way of Westchester and Putnam and continue to give out grants.
Mask Making Initiative
We have been sponsoring eight refugees, from Syria and Afghanistan, to make protective masks for health workers and vulnerable populations. NFR transports all materials and masks back and forth, coordinates all communication with the refugees, and raises money to pay for their work via fundraising and grants. Some of the local facilities that have received these include The Osborn, White Plains Hospital Emergency Room, Montefiore New Rochelle, Greenwich Hospital, and The New Jewish Home. They have also gone to homeless shelters, nursing homes, and homes for disabled persons. This initiative appeared in on NPR.
Students for Refugees Hello Future Hackathon
We gathered 30 high school students, primarily from Mamaroneck High School, to join a project called Hello Future, a mobile phone-based digital literacy program for adolescent refugees. They interacted with and competed against teens living in Iraq in Arbat Refugee Camp to develop a solution to COVID-19, tackling issues such as depression and lack of motivation, social interaction and structures, and the excessive use of Social Media. They met up every day for a week and created projects using Human Design Thinking. The projects bridged the two worlds in a compelling way.
“Boredom Buster Bags” for Refugees
We teamed up with our partner, Hearts and Homes for Refugees, to collect books and toys to help refugee families beat summer boredom. Bags went out to Westchester’s refugee families and asylum seeker families, as well as refugee families in Jersey City.
When we heard that 35 families were having trouble putting food on the table in Jersey City, we contacted their host organization, Welcome Home, no to see what we could do to help. Our response was to collect food and raise money for families to buy gift cards at their local grocery store. We also joined forces with Trader Joe's to provide food to some of our county's own refugee families struggling from the impact of COVID-19. In addition, our handmade masks went inside bags given to refugees in and around NYC by our partner, Tanabel.
Writing Group for Refugee Women
We teamed up with a Social Journalism (MA) student from CUNY to provide a writing workshop for refugee women. The on-going program includes 13 women and helps improve their English, while helping them express complicated emotions around their plights as refugees and living on America.