I am very excited that the Restoring Dignity project number four is complete! After spending almost 12 hours working to bring this latest family needed household items and teaching them how to clean with the right chemicals and how to organize, the progress is very evident. View the Before and After Video, to see the transformation that occurred this weekend.
I met this family through a refugee caseworker who is close friend of theirs. I have never met such respectful and caring people- this family was an absolute blessing to serve and to work with. The children, by their own accord, chose to help clean, organize, and rearrange furniture for the entire day. Even the youngest one, at only 4 years of age, wanted to put on gloves and help scrub walls. This family has been through more periods of desperation and hard trials than most people will know their entire lifetime, and yet they still maintain a hope and a joy that is breathtaking to observe. After having to flee their home country of Burma, they spent 10 years in a refugee camp in Thailand, waiting to be relocated to another country. Three years ago they were granted permission to come to the United States. While coming to a developed nation is definitely something that they (and many other refugee families) consider a blessing, it still presents a myriad of obstacles to overcome. Many of these families had no formal education in their home countries, making learning English much more difficult than for those that are literate in their native language. This family in particular had and are still having a very difficult time making ends meet, due to the father being disabled, which is why we stepped in to help make things a little easier and to provide them with needed household items.
I hope that through Restoring Dignity, others might be inspired to join us or start similar acts of service in their own areas of this city or other cities. There is such a need, especially amongst refugee families, that Restoring Dignity cannot even help a fraction of families who could use a hand up.
There is also a massive need for change in the way that these slum landlords manage these properties. We need groups of people to start challenging the conditions that many of these families are forced to live in. Unbeknownst to many people, a good share of these refugee families do NOT receive section 8 housing, but pay their own rent. Even though they pay out of their own pockets to live in these apartments, it makes no difference to the landlords, who do not proactively nor effectively treat for pests, such as cockroaches and bedbugs. There is no excuse for any family living in a developed nation that has a plethora of resources, to have to live in the conditions that these families are living in. I wish that everyone reading this could witness the pest infestations that we have seen in every home we have helped restore. It is unacceptable, and it needs to change. If anyone is interested in collaborating to find effective ways to start an upheaval of these slum landlord practices, please contact me, and we can start a discussion. My contact information will be at the bottom of this post.
The time has come for those of us who have been privileged to grow up with so many resources, the main one being our education, to bring justice to those who are oppressed. We have an immense opportunity and responsibility right here in our own city. One voice might only be heard by a few, but when many voices join together, we cannot be ignored. Join us. We need you.