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About Us

The Blacksburg Refugee Partnership was formed in the summer of 2016. Our members are concerned about the tragic events unfolding and escalating in Syria and other parts of the mid-East as well as the incredible amount of suffering in refugee camps formed in response to that violence. We feel we need to help and that Blacksburg, with its welcoming nature and diverse population, is ideal to support refugee families. We are now 300 members strong and have partnerships with a dozen faith and another ten local community organizations.

Our approach is not to simply bring families to Blacksburg, but to truly resettle them. We consider it our responsibility to help them until they are integrated in the community, including teaching them about American culture, enrolling children in school, helping with health care, and placing adults in jobs.

Our first family, from Syria, arrived in October 2016. Two more families, Syrian and Afghan, arrived in February 2017. Our support of these families is entirely provided by kind donations of money and time by our many supporters. In March, we formed partnerships with The Secular Society (TSS) and the Roanoke Refugee Partnership (RRP). With financial support from TSS, we brought three more Afghan families to Blacksburg, and with TSS funding and working with RRP we began to support two families, Somali and Burundi, in Roanoke. Each of these five families is led by a single mother. In total, we are now supporting 19 children and 9 adults in Blacksburg as well as co-supporting 10 children and 2 adults in Roanoke.

A key partner in our work is Commonwealth Catholic Charities, who works with the state department to identify refugee families for resettlement in Virginia.

For all of our families, we are supporting their health care, education, job search and training, transportation, and many other needs. We help the children participate in sports and other local activities. Our translators and tutors are helping the families communicate and learn English. Our plan is to help them through their transition and get them as quickly as possible to the point where they can meet their own needs.

Thanks to our extensive and very committed volunteer network, as well as the generosity of our donors, we are seeing great success. The three men are all working and receiving excellent reports from their employers. Two of them have passed written driving tests and are taking driving lessons. (We emphasize safety in all things!) The women are attending formal English classes, and all adults receive informal English lessons in their homes. All of the school-age children are attending school.

All of our work is 100% volunteer contributions of time, effort, household items, and funds. We are grateful for the tremendous generosity that this community has shown. We welcome new volunteers for this important and rewarding work, and we gratefully request your continued financial contributions.