One late night in January, a crowd gathered at the Memphis airport with Ahmednur, a Somali refugee breathlessly awaiting reunification with his wife and children. Ahmednur had been forcibly displaced from his homeland as a child in 1991, spending the next 24 years in refugee camps in Ethiopia, where he eventually met and married his wife, a fellow Somali refugee. After a lifetime of waiting, Ahmednur received the incredible news of his approval for resettlement in the United States. The joy quickly turned to anxiety, however, because his wife (and therefore their children) had been registered as a separate case long before they met. He would have to go without them. The indefinite separation overwhelmed them, especially considering his wife was pregnant with their fourth child.
Shortly after his 2015 arrival in Memphis, Ahmednur learned from his World Relief case worker that our office also provided immigration legal services. He quickly sought assistance and we were able to file for family reunification, ensuring that his wife and children would eventually be resettled in Memphis. Fast forward to this cold night in January 2017, our airport group celebrated with warm hugs, tender tears, incessant chatter and laughter as we welcomed Ahmednur's family, launching their transition from seeking refuge to refuge found.
Little did we know that only a week later, their home country would be among those banned from entry to the US, a moratorium would be placed on refugees (including reunification), and 60,000 refugee arrivals would be slashed from the resettlement quota, making the line for families like Ahmednur's despairingly long. Even the newest Executive Order sadly lends additional discouragement by restarting the 120 day moratorium.
Memphis Welcomes Refugees
For nearly 40 years World Relief USA has welcomed people fleeing violence and persecution, most of whom are women and children. This is a critical time for refugees and we are witnesses to the greatest displacement of people the world has known.
Since our Memphis office opened in 2012, we have seen with joy hundreds of lives transformed, from refugee families like Ahmednur's reunited, to children attending school for the first time. Your gift will serve refugees who have recently come to the U.S.—helping them adjust to life in Memphis—and preserve our office's services and expertise until the refugee admissions flow increases again.
World Relief Memphis and the refugees we serve need your help
Please consider a Monthly or one-time gift of support to the following funds:
MEMPHIS GENERAL FUND: help us serve existing clients and prepare for future clients as we remove barriers to their self-sufficiency (such as rent, utilities, transportation), navigate cultural orientation, coordinate volunteers, oversee various eligibilities and service enrollments, connect employers with eager employees, educate-equip-empower churches and the community to be more welcoming to the vulnerable. GOAL: $48,000 ($18,000 will be matched by a grant 2:1)
IMMIGRATION LEGAL SERVICES: help us offer a variety of low-cost immigration services to refugees, asylees, and other immigrants. Our office is a recognized organization by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and our services are provided by a BIA Accredited Representative. GOAL: $50,000
Now more than ever your financial support is crucial to stand with the vulnerable in Memphis. Together let's lend hope for refuge found. Give online at bit.ly/SupportWRMemphis or by mailing your gift to World Relief Memphis, 3340 Poplar Ave Suite 222, Memphis, TN 38111.