September/October 2022 Newsletter

Where We Are Now.
NEKASAN is coming up on its three-year anniversary. In this short time, we have accomplished more than we imagined. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and host families, we have supported a total of 10 asylum seekers and their families, providing legal assistance educational opportunities, medical care, transportation, as well as basic necessities of food and housing. 

We are working in coalition with 6 similar organizations in Vermont and New Hampshire. The group was recently awarded a two-year grant from the Canaday Family Foundation.

We are currently supporting 4 asylum seekers in our area, including one family. Three of our guests have moved on to more independent living situations, but we continue supporting them in various ways.

Our Guests
We are so proud of our guests’ accomplishments. They are all actively involved in their communities: working, volunteering, studying, and enjoying all the opportunities we offer. Several are on the road to financial independence and satisfying careers. We partner with many local organizations that provide opportunities and services to our guests, including the Community College of  Vermont, NVRH, Northern Counties Health Care, NEK Community Action, the St. J Athenaeum, and the United Community Church of St J.

One of our original guests has been working for a landscaping firm. Since he earned his Commercial Driver’s License earlier this year he has also been able to drive the company truck with a trailer to transport materials and supplies. He is now financially independent and has just moved into his own apartment in St. Johnsbury. NEKASAN continues to pay the legal expenses of his asylum case.  
On the way to his new apartment
Our Benin family is established in their apartment in St. J leased to NEKASAN by the UCC. The dad is taking an HVAC course in Newport with transportation and translation help provided by NEKSASAN volunteers. He recently got his driver’s license, and NEKASAN will help him get a used car. The mom takes care of their 6-month-old and is continuing her English language studies. They attend a weekly playgroup at NEKCA and story hour at the St. J library. NEKASAN volunteers provide transportation, companionship, and help with childcare during appointments.
Our youngest guest
Our recent Iranian guest is living with a host family in Wheelock. He volunteers at a local meal site and is taking an interdisciplinary class preparing students for reading, writing, and discussion at the college level. His main concern right now is the uprising in Iran and the safety of his family back home.

Our first guest and his family are living in Louisville, Kentucky. They are both working. Their son just celebrated his first birthday. His mother will be arriving from Cuba to help them out. 
First birthday party
Our guest from Uganda has decided to relocate to Boston and is working as an Uber driver. He is doing well, getting the hang of the city and focusing on learning the ropes and getting settled.

Next Steps
Right now, our main goal is to increase our capacity to serve more asylum seekers and we need your help. We have a base of supporters who contribute monthly (total amount is $623 per month) which helps meet our current expenses but doesn’t allow us to expand our reach. Our grant from the Canaday Foundation and several one-time donations provide us with a reserve, but we can’t rely on this money to take on new guests. To expand, we need a reliable, continuing income stream. 

If you are able to join our roster of monthly sponsors or if you would like more information about donating, contact our treasurer, Lawuo Cummings, One-time donations that we can draw on for unexpected needs are also welcome, of course.

In addition, we need volunteers to host or sponsor additional guests. We regularly hear about asylum seekers in urgent need of housing and support; it is painful to have to turn them away. If you would like more information about hosting and sponsoring an individual asylum seeker or family, contact Janet Givens,

Our Needs
Please consider ways in which you can help support this important work. You will have the pleasure of getting to know some of our courageous, delightful guests and seeing how much your help enriches their lives.

• Become a host or a sponsor
• Help us find affordable housing for our guests
• Donate or sell us an affordable, low-mileage used car for use by our guests
• Help provide transportation for shopping, medical appointments, etc.
• Join in outings such as kayaking, hiking, biking, concerts, arts and crafts, and movies, with our guests.
• Join our fundraising team.
• Support our work financially, preferably with a tax-deductible monthly donation. 

Please visit our website,, where you can donate online, explore volunteer opportunities, learn more about us, and contact us with your questions.

Thank you all for your continued interest and support.
Please visit our website,, where you can donate online, explore volunteer opportunities, learn more about us, and contact us with your questions. Thank you all for your continued interest and support