Today, I’m delighted to share a guest blog post from Fesseha Bekele, an LIRS World Refugee Day Academy participant and bold advocate for Ethiopian and Eritrean communities. In this post, he shares how his experience during the World Refugee Day Academy has influenced his work as a leader and his vision for resettled refugee communities in Charlotte, NC.
My worldview in the United States is the same as it was in Ethiopia in regards to human rights. Most of the time, I worked as a teacher and a school director in Ethiopia. I was elected as a chairman to the Labor Union groups twice in two different schools, and together with other representatives, we used to fight to create a positive change and facilitate a better atmosphere among the employers and the employees. When I came to the United States as a refugee, I happened to be helped by LIRS and was able to observe what this organization has been doing to welcome and protect refugees. I recently received my MA of Arts in Human Services and Counseling from Liberty University in Virginia and a BA in Bible and Theology from Global University, Missouri. I am planning to pursue my PHD online soon to get more knowledge and to continue serving my community more.
In June 2014, LIRS offered a training for refugee leaders through the World Refugee Academy to become more effective advocates for refugees. This has motivated and inspired me to be committed to refugee services and has made me more passionate and created a vision in my heart. My vision is to create culturally strong, dynamic, and positive immigrant groups across the United States.
I am planning to work more closely with Ethiopian, Eritrean and others refugee communities in Charlotte, NC and the surrounding area to help foster a cultural diverse, yet integrated community that communicates well. This will include building strong relationships and creating positive sentiments through meetings, life-sharing experiences with the community and governmental representatives, and other international institutions in the city of Charlotte. I feel that refugees’ issues have to be discussed more clearly in the Charlotte area. The new refugees need to be in contact with the former refugees and any agencies concerned in regular manner and share experiences and help one another.
We can all help create “diverse, yet integrated” communities. If you are a former refugee, you can help newly arrived refugees through our Refugee Alumni Network. To call on Congress to protect refugees, visit our Action Center.