This story is titled, “Somali refugee celebrates long road to citizenship,” and like so many mainstream media reports it’s all so upbeat until one reads further down the article.
You are too old for school, said Catholic Charities in Pittsburgh (yes, must be the same one the Burmese are protesting here):
Mr. Muya was 20 when he came to Pittsburgh, and was told he was too old to go to school. Officials at Catholic Charities, which helped resettle the Somali Bantu families here, told him he needed to find a job.
Government refugee polices focus on the goal of self-sufficiency above all else, which “isn’t easy,” said Claire Kushma, director of marketing and public relations at Catholic Charities.
Because only limited resources are available to the refugees upon their arrival, “they must obtain a job quickly to provide for basic needs like food, shelter and clothing,” she said, noting that Catholic Charities will be launching an expanded program in 2010 to provide work force and English language skills to refugee who have found jobs. [Edit: that should be a small number since so few refugees are finding work.]
No one is keeping track of the refugees! Where have we heard this before!
And while his new citizenship may symbolize how far this group has come, an estimated dozen families living in Lawrenceville are still enduring tough challenges, said Ms. Tsapis, a grant-writer and strategic planner for Magee Womencare International, a humanitarian outreach arm of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.
While the children, who make up most of the 250-plus community of Somali Bantus, have picked up English easily, they still encounter hostility during the schools days. All are Muslim and they’re teased for the turbans and heavy robed clothing that many wear, their accents and their customs, she said.
The biggest problems? The language and cultural barriers, and “safe affordable housing with decent landlords,” Ms. Tsapis answered, noting that the families have experienced vandalism and assaults in their homes and on the streets.
“Most don’t feel safe in their homes, have uncooperative landlords or housing that just isn’t affordable.”
While praising the good intentions of resettlement programs, she said no one organization keeps track of this group or other resettled refugees or of the services that are being provided.
“Nobody’s talking to anyone else,” she said.
The refugee resettlement program of the US government is kept from scrutiny and ultimately reform by this presumption of good intentions!
More Somali Bantu on the way?
Here is a Somali Bantu website, Somali Bantu Community Association of Boise, I came across a few weeks ago and have had in my queue. It’s dated December 4th, so maybe they know something we don’t know—14,000 more Somali Bantu are on the way?!
How many Somali Bantus are coming to America?
About 14000 , mostly families with young children. now there are 12,000 Bantu in United States.