July/August 2022 Newsletter

Meeting the Needs of Asylum Seekers and Refugees within a Supportive Community in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont 

We are excited about new developments and want to share them with you. An asylum seeker from Iran will be joining our community. His bond has been paid, with help from NEKASAN donors, and he will soon be traveling to Vermont to live with a host family in Wheelock. He has an engineering background and will be a valuable asset to our community.

The Canaday Family Charitable Trust has approved the grant application submitted by six Vermont asylum seeker support groups, including NEKASAN. The grant, which extends for a 2-year period, will be used to support the work of the individual groups as well as to establish statewide development of housing, community, and legal resources. The grant will go a long way toward increasing capacity to accept more asylum seekers in Vermont and provide them with the services they need.

Our new board member, Kathy Hayes, has taken on the job of Volunteer Coordinator, and will be communicating with everyone on our volunteer list to find out how you would like to be involved.

Here are some of the ways you can help right now:

  • Join one of our support teams that meet regularly to help our guests. The teams meet regularly with each guest to find out their needs and how we can meet them.
  • Help us strengthen our ties with the community. Invite NEKASAN to come to your church or other organization to talk about our work. Invite NEKASAN guests to take part in events and activities in your community.
  • Join our fundraising team to help us raise the money we will need to accommodate more guests. Support our work financially, preferably with a tax-deductible monthly donation.

If you would like to help in these or other ways, contact Kathy directly at khayes2005@gmail.com. We are always looking for people who can host one or more asylum seekers in our area. If you think you might be interested, contact us at nekasan.org. We can provide information about what hosting involves and put you in touch with some of our current hosts.

A new treasurer will join the board next month, replacing our long-time friend John Ajamie, who is getting married and leaving the area. His replacement works as an accountant in St. Johnsbury. She is originally from Liberia.

All our guests are thriving:
A recently arrived asylum seeker living with a host family in Lyndonville has published a memoire, “Line of Fire: The Story of a Ugandan Child Soldier”. This short book vividly describes his life in the military after his father’s death and his
harrowing journey to Vermont. after his life was endangered for supporting a reform candidate in Uganda. It can be purchased from Amazon.

Three of our guests are working for a local landscaping firm, Regenerative Gardenworks. One has been promoted to a managerial position.

Our Benin family is enjoying life in St. Johnsbury. Their daughter, Imane, now almost 5 months old, is a charmer. Mom and child went to the Last Friday in June celebration on Railroad Street where they were greeted warmly by passers-by. A local poet, Kathleen Ferrier, composed a poem for them on the spot.

You wear the magic you seek
nestled in the stars
that remind us
there is light
there is always light
even in the darkest of nights
and the sacred interlooping links
the connection to all that is
holy, and alive.

Dad is starting an HVAC (heat, ventilation, and air conditioning) training program in the fall and may need help in understanding the program materials. Any French-speaker willing to help him?

Our former guest now living with his family in Kentucky is now working for Apple. He recently sent a photo with his young son.

Thank you all for your continued interest and support.