Refugee Support

In the fall of 2007 Doylestown Friends joined with many other meetings in Bucks County to begin the process of sponsoring a family of refugees from Iraq. During that fall and the winter of 2008 we planned, fundraised, searched for an apartment for them and collected household items they would need to set up their new home in their new country of residence.

We raised over $16,000 to help get them situated in the Bucks-Montgomery County area and be able to pay their rent and living expenses for six months to a year after their arrival. Several of us from Doylestown Meeting trained and became certified to teach ESL (English as a Second Language) so we could tutor them in English.

When the family arrived from a Jordanian refugee camp in March of 2008 they were warmly greeted at Philadelphia airport with Welcome signs in Arabic. They stayed with a local family for a few weeks until they were comfortable enough to move into an apartment in Lansdale.

The family has moved several times in the past few years in order to be closer to the parents’ workplaces. Both parents work and each family member has obtained a green card. The children are thriving in school, having easily adapted to a new language and culture. Several meeting members keep in close contact with the family and the relationships that have formed are authentic and mutually enriching. We discovered that, when you come from the heart, all superficial differences of religion and ethnicity fall away.

In addition this experience brought our community closer together and united us with our neighboring Bucks County Friends. Quakers have a history of working together to achieve peaceful solutions to personal and global conflict. Our testimonies of peace, equality, and community were foremost in our minds and hearts as we all worked together to give this Iraqi family the opportunity to create a new life of hope and abundance far from the war torn Middle East.