ORR 2011 Holiday Greetings
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. –Albert Einstein
Dear ORR friends and colleagues,
On the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, these words from a former refugee remind us of the virtues of patience and fortitude. As we see new refugee camps built to accommodate the arrival of Somalis in Dadaab, or Syrians and Iraqis in southern Turkey, it is sometimes hard to see what we’ve learned from the past six decades.
Yet, those few out of millions given a second chance for resettlement find new hope and opportunities, but also new challenges and uncertainties.
This past year, ORR has shifted its focus to the most vulnerable of refugees, those who were often left out of traditional programming. From creating a resource center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) refugees, to redesigning our Microenterprise Program to promote home-based child care initiatives for refugee mothers, we have made a concerted effort to ensure that we are responsive to the needs of the people we serve.
Our goal is to provide access and services previously unattainable, and see that every refugee resettled to the United States is given the tools needed to succeed, however that success is defined. This is the very definition of hope, and it is up to resettlement service providers—from ORR and its state and federal partners, to the voluntary agencies across the country, and the many partners without whose help we could not carry out our duties—to ensure that this hope is translated into opportunity.
Our refugee communities have lost so much through displacement, years of waiting, and the uncertainties of asylum. My hope is that in resettlement, they will find peace, dignity, solace, and promise for a future bright with possibilities.
During the Holiday season, we ask you to celebrate with us the extraordinary determination, perseverance and contribution of all refugees to our country and our lives. We thank you for your generosity in making possible their hopeful and dignified resettlement.
Eskinder Negash, Director of ORR