Volunteers Step Up to Help Refugees Settle in New England

Nov 30, 2016

An organization that works to help settle refugees in New England says it’s seen an uptick in volunteers over the course of the campaign season, thanks, in part, to inflammatory language about immigrants. 

The organization is the International Institute of New England, in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Case manager Amadou Hamady says he usually drives new refugee families to apply for things like fuel assistance.  But on Monday, a volunteer made the trip.

In fact, Hamady says, every time someone says something “outrageous” about refugees on TV, more people call his office offering to help. Hamady says with all these new volunteers, his small staff can do more for their refugee clients.

"But more importantly, we’re helping them to integrate, we’re helping them to know that America has a different face," Hamady says. "It’s not the face on the news, but these are the same, they are white, they are Caucasian, but they are loving, who are saying, 'I'm with you.' "

Hamady says he always said it takes a community to resettle refugees. Now, it feels like a reality.

This story was reported by New Hampshire Public Radio's Emily Corwin for the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.