Frequently Asked Questions
Are the women of the Refugee Sewing Society in America legally?
Yes. After fleeing their home country, our women lived many years in refugee camps under the supervision of the United Nations. The USA agrees to resettle a certain number of refugees each year. Our women have been legally placed in this country. Most already have green cards and are eager to become citizens.
Why do people live in refugee camps?
When one people group attacks another -- including the effort to totally annihilate them (genocide) ? the persecuted people run for their lives. They flee to countries that provide haven of protection. These havens are called refugee camps.
Why don?t refugees just stay in the country where they lived in refugee camps?
Usually, the host country does not want the refugees. The government tolerates the camps but is eager to send the refugees back to their homeland. This is called repatriation. Refugees are terrified of being repatriated.
What does a refugee camp look like?
Houses are usually built in rows and are only a few feet apart. Bhutanese refugees live in houses made of bamboo with plastic tarps for roofs. Other refugees live in homes made of sticks and paper, mud, or sometimes concrete block. Fire and wind are great hazards.
What skills do refugees bring to the US?
In their homelands, most refugees were farmers who owned livestock. In refugee camps, they cannot own land. Many are taught new skills such as sewing and other crafts. Some are able to attend local schools.
Are the women of the Refugee Sewing Society educated?
Most of our women have never been to school. They cannot read or write their own language. It?s very hard for them to learn English.
How old are they?
Our women range in age from 30-60 plus.
What religion do they practice?
Most of our Bhutanese women are Hindus. Some are Buddhists. Our women from Somalia are all Muslims, as are our women from Middle and North Sudan. Our women from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo are Christians.
Do their children go to school in the US?
Yes, but it is very hard for them to catch up to their American counterparts.
What do refugees need the most?
They need physical help (clothing, food, transportation) and they need our prayers as they try to build a new life in America.
Why don?t they wear American clothes?
They wear the clothing of their people group because this is their tradition. It is hard to wear jeans when you have worn a sari your whole life.
Some of your women are Muslims. Islamic people have hurt Americans in the past. Do refugees want to terrorize and kill Americans?
No. Refugees know what it feels like to be persecuted and betrayed. They have endured terrible violence. They know very well the evil that one people-group can do to another. Refugees want to become productive citizens of the United States. They bring a lot of hope when they come to America. We need to love them with the love of Jesus and help them find their place in their new homeland.
I would like to be friends with a refugee, but I don? I don't think any live near me.
Surprise! Refugees live all over the US. Check online for refugees who have moved to your city.
What do refugees want from me?
Friendship. Encouragement. English practice. They want to learn how to live in America. Who better to teach them than American friend?
What can I expect from them?
Friendship. Refugees are afraid and uncomfortable in America. They will quickly love you and eagerly welcome you into their homes. You can expect generosity, kindness, lots of laughter, and fun. Just like you, refugees love to have fun!