Lost Safety, Lost Home, Lost Dignity

Alassane Fall from the International Services Center Cleveland will present a program on refugees July 24 in Westlake. Photo courtesy Kris Lurz

Lecturer to present the plight of the refugee

Ahh, home. Dorothy said "There's no place like home" in "The Wizard of Oz," "Home Sweet Home" was a cross-stitch boon in the '80s and the dictionary defines home as "the place where one lives permanently."

And then there are the refugees who have no home. They were forced to leave their home country out of fear of persecution, armed conflict and violations of human rights. They didn't leave their home because they chose to – they fled for their lives. Most left their homes with the clothes on their backs and few, if any, possessions. They may have originally thought it would be a short time until things returned to normal but then they recognized they cannot return home because of continued conflict and wars. The refugee stories are ones of desperation with all seeking safety, freedom and the chance to reclaim futures for themselves and their families.

On Sunday, July 24, a special program will be presented on the plight of the refugee at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 25000 Westwood Road, Westlake. Beginning at 6 p.m., Mr. Alassane Fall, volunteer coordinator and community outreach specialist at the International Services Center Cleveland will present a one-hour program that will inform and inspire. The ISC is 100 years old this year and has settled over 14,000 refugees into various neighborhoods of Greater Cleveland in that time.

Mr. Fall is a popular lecturer, has presented programs in colleges and societies throughout the United States and is published in various periodicals from Senegal to Canada, France, West Africa and more. He has been involved with the United Nations-Geneva, the Foreign Ministry of Senegal, the American Red Cross (NEO), the International Institute of Humanitarian Law-Italy and others. Mr. Fall responded to a request by a member of the local JustServe committee to provide volunteer opportunities on a website for those who would like to assist refugees in their integration into American society. Many service projects are available on the website, justserve.org, including mentoring, teaching English, assisting in home settlement, clothing and other necessary need drives.

Refugee settlement is reserved for some of the most vulnerable people in the entire world. The International Services Center offers critical resources that assist the refugees to successfully transition to life in the Greater Cleveland area and helps restore their safety and dignity. Volunteers at ISC would agree with Angelina Jolie: "Refugees have done more for my heart and my spirit than I can ever express in words."

Joyce Able Schroth

Public Affairs Director for the Cleveland Ohio Stake, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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Volume 8, Issue 14, Posted 9:49 AM, 07.19.2016