A brand new organization is doing it’s part to bring awareness of refugee issues to the students of Temple University.
Temple Refugee Outreach began as a collaboration between students who were exposed to refugee issues when they studied abroad last spring at Temple Rome. MacKenzie Bonner and Katie Pfeil both interned with the Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, and decided that their work in Rome was something that could be beneficial to Temple students, as well as the local community.
“We both really just had a very impactful experience and [we] thought a lot of students at Temple would benefit from something similar,” said Pfeil, Vice President of Temple Refugee Outreach.
Pfeil is currently working with SEAMAAC, the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition, who’s mission is to “to support immigrants, refugees, and their families as they seek access to opportunities, which would advance the condition of their lives in the United States.” As TRO continues to grow, they hope to pair students with organizations like SEAMAAC across the city, such as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Nationalities Service Center, and Puentes Hacia el Futuro.
According to their website, Temple Refugee Outreach’s main goal is to “provide and promote a better understanding of the global refugee crisis and to bring to light the challenges of individuals and families displaced from their home country due to fear of harm and/or persecution.” They plan to bring awareness through community service events as well as discussion panels at their weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 8pm in Anderson Hall, room 26.
“The refugee crisis sounds like this big distant thing, but its happening right in our community, and its people and families, and once you start to build those relationships and think of it as ‘my friend so and so’ it’s not this far away big thing, its personal.”
TRO plans to observe a Refugee Awareness Week in early April with an Artisan Fair amongst other events on campus. You can find out more about TRO on their social media pages, or find them on OwlConnect.