Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Age is just a number

Refugees come in all shapes and sizes--and many ages. The CRESL program serves adults both at Emily Griffith Technical College (EGTC) and through the in-home tutoring program.

While most of the adults who attend classes at EGTC are of working age, many retired seniors aren't up for the rigors of daily classes and the commute to and from downtown. This doesn't mean our older refugee clients don't have a desire to learn English or to adapt to American culture. In fact, they're some of the most eager students we have in the program.

If you have taken a break from tutoring or you would like to start, please consider working with one of the many seniors waiting for an in-home tutor. The experience is often even more rewarding than working with a younger person.

This month, UNHCR published two stories about elderly refugees. Both are inspiring!

At 99, grandma from Bhutan chooses new life over old

DAMAK, Nepal, August 22 (UNHCR) – Unlike many elderly refugees in eastern Nepal's camps who pass their time reading scriptures and chatting with each other, 99-year-old Bishnu Maya Bharati grabs her refugee identity card and visits the UN refugee agency's office every now and then, asking about her resettlement case.

The old woman, along with eight family members, has been waiting to get resettled in the United States, the largest destination of refugees from Bhutan opting for third country resettlement. Five members of her elder son's family have already started new lives in the United States.

"I want to go for resettlement rather than go back to Bhutan as the future of my children and grandchildren will be better in the US," said Bharati. Click here to read the full article.

Zambia's oldest refugee celebrates 100th birthday
MAYUKWAYUKWA, Zambia, Aug 2 (UNHCR) – As fellow Angolan refugees sang, danced and ululated, Erculano Salugardo celebrated his 100th birthday with gifts, toasts and goodwill messages in one of Africa's oldest refugee settlements.

The centenarian, believed to be the oldest refugee in Zambia, was in an exuberant mood during his landmark birthday party last Friday in the Mayukwayukwa refugee settlement. He even joined in the singing after advising well wishers that the best way to reach old age was to take care of your health.

The celebration was organized by UNHCR, Zambian government officials and other refugees in the settlement. A beaming Salugardo was presented with a cake and several gifts, including a new hut, mattress, blankets, food and clothing.

The only thing missing was his family. Click here to read the full article.

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