Saturday, March 12, 2011

From the beginning....

Hello people...

I am going to start where I should have started.
What does the IRC do?

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) phoenix  is an humanitarian organization that helps resettle people from countries who flee their homeland as a result of wars and natural disasters. These refugees (clients) are sent to different countries (including the United States) where they become residents. There are four organizations that resettle refugees in Phoenix. They are: the IRC, The Catholic Charities Community services, Refugee and Immigrants Relief center and the Lutheran Social Services of the South West.

The clients assigned to the IRC are given accommodation and they go through a six-weeks orientation on  life in the United States. When clients complete their orientations, they begin ESL classes (English as a Second Language), computer classes, financial literacy classes and job readiness classes. The objectives of these classes are to ensure that clients become self sufficient,gain employment,and ultimately integrate and thrive. The organization gets funding from the government, grants and cash and  in kind donations (from volunteers, interns, individuals). Most of these funds go to the clients.

(Zzz Is anyone still reading?) So what do I do at the IRC? Well, I coordinate and teach the computer classes and job readiness classes  for the clients assigned to me by employment coordinators ( The ECs work with clients so that they get jobs). I'm very happy when I hear that one of our clients gets a job at so and so place we applied to.

Working at the IRC has  been a personal learning experience for me because I meet these clients who had good lives in their country but had to leave and start all over in the United States, clients who have lived in refugee camps all their lives before coming to the US.... Their resilience and strength is just touching and amazing.

On a lighter note, in one of  our classes, there was a client that I thought spoke French. Feeling like someone who just learnt how to greet and ask questions in French. I go " Bonjour, s'il vous plait escrivez nom" (Morning, please write your name) and the client looks at me like "sorry.. what are you saying?". Then the interpreter with me goes... "he speaks Arabic not French"!!!


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