A few years ago, I learned that there was a community of people from Nepal who were living in my city, Artesia, California.
This was not very surprising as the population in Artesia is very ethnically diverse:
- The Los Angeles Times constructed a “diversity map” of Los Angeles, and it ranked Artesia #13 out of 265 neighborhoods in Los Angeles County.
- The ABC Unified School District, which serves Artesia, reports that there are 46 different languages spoken by it students.
- We have an International Downtown District, which is comprised of stores and restaurants representing South Asian countries, including India and Pakistan.
But what really struck me about the Nepalese community is that they came to the City to ask us to help them integrate into the community—they wanted help with English classes, with applying for driver’s licenses, and with opening up businesses.
The Nepalese here in America want to be engaged in American life.
As the Mayor of Artesia this year, I have welcomed many Nepalese groups, organizations, and associations to Artesia:
- Himalayan Voice, the first English-language newspaper for Nepalese, published in Artesia.
- The Non-Resident Nepalese Americans (NRNA), who hosted a reception for Binod Chaudhary, a billionaire entrepreneur who is looking for investment opportunities in Nepalese communities in the U.S.
- The 1st Nepalese American Convention, which highlighted Nepalese fashion, culture, music, and sports.
They continue to demonstrate their eagerness to be connected to their community, and we should continue to help immigrants integrate into our communities and neighborhoods.
Unfortunately, there are many people from around the world that do not have the luxury of choosing to immigrate to the United States.
The world is facing a refugee crisis.
According to Amnesty International, the facts on the refugee crisis are:
- 21 Million+ people are refugees worldwide
- 10% of all refugees need resettlement by end of 2018
- 86% of refugees are hosted by developing countries
But we, the United States, lead the way in welcoming and resettling refugees.
Here are the countries leading the way in solving the refugee crisis.
According to the UNHCR in 2014, these countries lead the way in welcoming and resettling refugees:
- United States: 69,505
- Canada: 15,032
- Australia: 4,773
- Germany: 2,320
- Sweden: 2,307
- Norway: 1,967
- New Zealand: 1,691
- Finland: 1,343
- United Kingdom: 985
- France: 777
- All Others: 3,150
So what do some of these refugees look like?
“Refugees from Burma have comprised the largest group of refugees resettling in the United States over the past decade, with nearly 90,000 people, and 19 percent of the total refugee population,” according to Chris Fike, one of our speakers for our upcoming Exchange.
To read more about Chris’ work with Burmese refugees here in the U.S. read his original manuscript titled, “The Pain of Exile: What Social Workers Need to Know about Burmese Refugees.”
To see how you can help, attend CLU’s Exchange. Find out more here.
Photo credit: © Vladimir Pavlović | Dreamstime.com