There are men and women from at least 7 different countries with different languages and cultures all gathered together in a classroom learning English together. It is the continuing story of what a journey to America means for many refugees and immigrants resettling their lives in Chicago. As I moved around from classroom to classroom trying to capture a small piece of this journey with every click of my shutter I thought about the many varied stories represented. In meeting the many students I kept thinking how much I wanted to sit in each person's living room and hear their story. I heard from a mother who is learning English because she said she wants her children to also learn. I listened to a man talk about the ideal home he hopes to buy for his family one day. Another woman read a poem she had written using the letters of her name to describe herself and I remember the apt description of vibrant.
It is easy to focus on the challenges and difficulties many refugees and immigrants face when coming to America but when I spend time with folks making a new home here I am consistently impressed with their resilience and bravery. But it is not a simple story. It is one that has many threads. Just as all stories and they are all worth hearing. Because the telling of our stories changes us and the listener.
Here are some images of a day at World Relief Chicago.
The classroom is a powerful place where learning and teaching are occurring each day among all those desiring to be a learner. Check out more about World Relief's education services here.
World Relief Chicago seeks to empower the local church to serve the most vulnerable. You can read more about the mission and values here.
Donations of furniture are always needed to help furnish the newly arriving refugees' apartments.
Employment services are such a a need and you can learn more about employers partnering with World Relief here.
The legal team serving at the Chicago office uses their vocation and passion to help bring legal aid to the clients. Learn more about the services here.
Join the sharing of stories and stand for the vulnerable! I know my life is always enriched and changed by learning from, offering my time and energy, and loving with refugees.