Fleeing Chaos and Finding Refuge

This week on Interfaith Voices:


Welcome to America

We catch up with volunteers from the non-profit Kindworks, who were setting up an apartment for a family of Afghan refugees in a Washington, D.C. suburb, and find out what drives people to help those who come to this country with almost nothing. Then we talk to Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, who heads one of the nine groups tasked by the federal government to resettle refugees in the U.S. Vignarajah is the first non-Lutheran CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. We wanted to know what has changed for resettlement agencies such as LIRS since Donald Trump became president.

Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service


Refugee children in Lebanon. Photo by Anthony Gale via Flickr

Reaching Out To Refugees

We continue our conversation with Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, who talks about her own faith tradition and what it means for her, as a non-Lutheran, to head LIRS — one of the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S. She talks about the fine line she walks between working with the government to help refugees and criticizing U.S. policy when she sees it hurting them. Vignarajah explains how even those who support President Donald Trump can reject his restrictive approach to immigration, and how ordinary people can aid a refugee in crisis.


 A Refugee Gives Back

Mireille Twayigira is a doctor who fled civil war in Rwanda, excelled in refugee camp schools and then won a scholarship to medical school. She recalls her perilous journey, the family she lost, and why she now works with Jesuit Refugee Service to encourage people around the world to support education for young refugees. As a physician in Malawi she treats a few patients a day. But advocating for education for young refugees, she says she can have an even greater impact in the lives of others.

Dr. Mireille Twayigira, education advocate with Jesuit Refugee Service




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