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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

ORR Director Addresses Ethnic Community Based Organizations on Conference Call

Somali Bantu Refugee Community Development Blog

This afternoon, new Office of Refugee Resettlement Director Eskinder Negash spoke with representatives of ethnic community-based organizations (ECBOs) about the Office's direction during the new administration. Questions from ECBOs addressed a number of issues including the high rate of unemployment of refugees nationwide, illiterate refugees experiencing difficulty finding jobs, and how to help refugees still in need of services well after their date of arrival.

Mr. Negash explained that the Office will be concentrating on the needs of newly-arrived refugees, and he announced several initiatives to assist these refugees. Specifically, Mr. Negash noted the development of new skills recertification programs, a new database system for tracking how many refugees are in each community, and an interest to train refugee women to become home-based childcare providers. The Director also expressed concern about refugees not being self-sufficient after five years, noting that this is a "rare situation." Mr. Negash urged organizations to redouble their efforts on employment as "the foundation" of success.

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