‘We don't turn anyone away’: As virus forces some nonprofits to cut hours and services, refugee aid group works overtime


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‘We don't turn anyone away’: As virus forces some nonprofits to cut hours and services, refugee aid group works overtime

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by Jessica Myers for the Luce Foundation: Southwest Stories Fellowship
People who seek out ​Refugees and Immigrants Community for Empowerment often don’t know where else to turn, according to Dominic Braham, executive director of the Phoenix nonprofit.
“A lot of times, when they come to us, it's kind of the last stop. They have no other place to go when they're looking for how to get a driver's license or get medical benefits,” he said. “We don't turn anyone away.”
The 3-year-old organization, led by refugees and immigrants, aims to help those same populations become self-sufficient after their arrival in the United States.
RICE provides employment and housing assistance, English classes, dental care and help navigating the immigration and education systems.
Those services have become even more vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, Braham said: As the virus forced many other community organizations to operate remotely, RICE has kept its doors open.
“Other organizations have cut their hours or gone virtual, and families may not be able to get on with virtual meetings if they don’t have internet access,” he said. “So, they come to us. We've taken a lot more families in.”
In an interview with the Luce Foundation’s Southwest Stories project, Braham discussed the additional hurdles COVID-19 has created for refugee communities and how RICE is responding.

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Southwest Stories>Jessica Myers

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This item was submitted on September 19, 2020 by Jessica Myers using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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