Refugee Care Initiative

A Peacemaking Project by Harshika J., Andrea C. and Andrea C.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Refugees are people who have left their country forcibly due to unfavorable conditions. According to The UN Refugee Agency there are currently 65.6 million people in the world that are forcibly displaced worldwide. Out of that selected demographic, 10 million people are declared “stateless”. To clearly understand the problem at hand, it is crucial for the public to understand what a refugee is. Due to the recent unfavorable political events, there has been an association present with refugees and those who harm the country. For this particular reason, many refugees not only struggle with cultural and health issues but also social problems because of the societal rejection they face constantly. These problems include and are not limited to: difficulty speaking and learning English, raising children and helping them succeed in school, securing work, securing housing, accessing services, and transportation. The Refugee Care Initiative’s Founder, President, and Executive Director, Harshika Jha, is a 16 year-old high school student from Plano, TX who is dedicated to serving the refugee community. The journey started at an event in celebration of World Refugee Day at the Northwest Community Center in Dallas. Meeting and conversing with these refugees led to the realization that the skills these individuals possess are not being exhibited because of various limitations. Seeing her own parents, initially immigrants, adjust themselves to a new environment when arriving to America, had given her initial insight to understand a small portion of what the refugees go through in the United States. There were many problems that refugees faced, but if she could help assuage some the issues they faced, it would help their adjustment to a new community. Therefore, the Refugee Care Initiative will provide portable nutrition to refugees in collaboration with Refugee Services around the United States that fit their cultural needs.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of Refugees are not being welcomed into their communities
we will address schools, public institutions, communities
by spreading awareness, implementing their culture into our society

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • Provide nutritious meals to refugees to promote success and better integration into communities: These meals fit into the cultural needs of the refugees.
  • Provide clothing to refugees to aid refugees in the presentation of themselves when looking for job and clothes for everyday life.: The clothing will be classified for different purposes (job interviews)

We will increase my / our compassion by...

The Refugee Care Initiative Services provides 3 main services: food and clothing. Currently, the only service in action is the food and clothing service. The Food service provides portable nutrition for refugees that fit into their cultural needs. Refugees are required to fill out a form emphasizing food allergies and cultural culinary taboos that they must follow. Refugees only have to fill out one form unless a new condition or circumstance emerges. Then, based on the dietary restrictions, volunteers will help cook a meal native to the culture of the refugees—there will be the second option that will include a more generic meal for those who wish to not consume the first option. The second service, clothing, is a basic charitable drive that can be fundraised anywhere. Volunteers are encouraged to start up a fundraiser in their area where adults and children donate professional clothing.

How will you show courage?

1. The Refugee Care Initiative partners and collaborates with its competition by providing services that the competition would not offer thus gaining recognition from a greater audience. 2. The Refugee Care Initiative addresses basic and cultural needs while most agencies only target basic needs due to increasing demand for aids— therefore, the Refugee Care Initiative takes these efforts a step further. 3. The Refugee Care Initiative clothing drive targets specific individuals who desire clothes necessary for work and job interviews whereas most organizations donate clothing without classifying the demographic usages.

How will you collaborate with others?

Refugee interaction is mainly initiated by the collaboration of various agencies and organizations that provide basic aid and house the refugees. Currently, the primary interaction occurs at the Refugee Services of Texas in Dallas and Houston. As an of yet, the response has been positive towards the meals and clothing and the refugee organizations express content towards the actions of this organization.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

By keeping track of funding through our treasurers and asking for feedback through surveys, we will properly assess the success of the organization.

Key Steps

  • Fundraise for ingredients
  • Address issues on various platforms and gain supporters
  • Promote fundraising of clothing and further collaboration with clients
  • Create more chapters of the organization to be widespread

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

The team, with the grant, could broaden the clients that we were helping to gain a better understanding of the injustice happening in the realm of refugee assimilation.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

The community has been helped as we have helped educate numerous refugee women as well as provide them with protein that food stamps could not buy.

How many people were impacted by your project?

20

In addition to those directly impacted, are there additional people you feel were indirectly indirectly impacted or reached? If so, how many? (This might include people who read about your project, families of people that attended your workshops or received services, etc.)

There were about 20 people in the group that we were helping out.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

We learned that the government provides some subsidies to the refugees, but their state is still very unsatisfactory due to racial complications.

What did your team learn?

My team learned that in order to make a change, one must put themselves out there and request help from other organizations to make a bigger impact.

What challenges did your team overcome?

We had some problems gaining a bigger platform in our community, but communit and local businesses helped out with that.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

There are members that helped volunteering and fundraising for the cause.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

A piece of advice for any high school entrepreneur would be to not be afraid of failure because it is quite inevitable at any given stage. Instead, be risky and do what you are most passionate about because it will be easier and more enjoyable for you to make a difference. You must try new things, so you can get an idea of how you want to change the world. There will be many people out there to tell you that it won’t be possible --- including people that are close to you because ter all , entrepreneurship is a major risk financially and socially.