March/April 2022 Newsletter

Hosts and Sponsors Needed
Word of NEKASAN’s work has gotten out!

Recently, an asylum seeker from Uganda contacted us to ask for support. He is currently a guest of the Central Vermont Refugee Action Network (CVRAN). His present living situation is unworkable and he would like to join our community. CVRAN is willing to collaborate with us in supporting him. We have also been contacted by an asylum seeker from another state looking for our help and are trying to connect him with services in his present location.

A volunteer has offered to provide housing for the Ugandan asylum seeker, but we cannot expand our services without additional hosts and sponsors willing to receive and support new guests. The need is great and growing every day. We are also looking for affordable apartments or other housing. If you have any leads, please let us know. You can contact us via our website,, or write to our housing committee chair, Janet Givens,

New Developments
We are pleased to welcome a new board member, Jeff Kay of Waterford, and a returning board member, Janet Givens of Danville. a new interim board president, Libby Hillhouse, and a new VP, Omar Johnson. They have all jumped in enthusiastically to further NEKASAN’s mission. If you are interested in working with us on the board or one of our committees, please contact Libby at

Update on Current Guests
Our first guest got his Commercial Driver’s license (CDL) with help from the Vermont Student Assistance Corp. (VSAC) which paid for his training. A story about his experience has been circulated by Vermont Digger,
license-paves-the-way-for-a-bright-future%EF%BF%BC/ After returning home from a cross-country trek in a gigantic tractor-trailer, he has decided to seek delivery work closer to home. In the meantime, he will be working with the local
firm, Regenerative Gardenworks, that employed him last summer.

Our young family living in St. J has a new member, their beautiful daughter born in February. NEKASAN volunteers have pitched in, driving them to medical appointments, food shopping, and other errands, and showering them with baby presents. As the weather warms up and they are able to spend time outdoors, they would welcome opportunities for recreation and activities in the community. They are French-speaking but quickly learning English. If you’d like
to be part of their support network, contact their team leader, Nancy Toney,

Our guest from Togo, who has been granted asylum but is not yet able to work, is living temporarily with a host family in Danville. He recently visited Chicago and brought back dashikis as for his host and her family as thank-you gifts.

Some Good News
We just got word that a grant proposal made jointly by six Vermont asylum seeker support groups, including NEKASAN, has made it through the first round. The Canaday Family Charitable Trust supports organizations in Vermont
that work to improve the lives of children and families. Our preliminary proposal was approved and we have been invited to submit a formal application. The two-year grant would be divided equally among the six groups, and would be used in part to develop statewide housing and legal resources.

Immediate Needs
• Hosts who can provide housing and support to asylum seekers for a limited time.
• Help with fundraising. We have a generous donor base that funds our present operations, but as we expand our roster of guests, we will need to increase our fundraising efforts.
• Volunteers to help our young family in St. J by running errands, transporting them, and providing recreational and social opportunities. They would also enjoy meaningful volunteer opportunities in our community. They have not yet received work permits, yet want to be active and useful.

Questions? Ideas? Interest in becoming an active member of NEKASAN? Please contact Libby Hillhouse,

Interested in sponsoring or hosting an asylum seeker? Please contact Janet Givens,

Thank you all for your continued interest and support.