Homes Not Borders

Homes Not Borders

Homes Not Borders (HNB)’s mission is to provide refugees and forced migrants of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area so that they can thrive and feel at home. Our goal is to help our clients set up, step and move up through four programs: Home Set Ups, Storytelling Training and Performance,

Homes Not Borders

Homes Not Borders (HNB)’s mission is to provide refugees and forced migrants of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area so that they can thrive and feel at home. Our goal is to help our clients set up, step and move up through four programs: Home Set Ups, Storytelling Training and Performance, Artisan Empowerment, and the Moving Up Fund. Eighty five percent of our clients are from Asia: mostly Afghanistan and Burma. The majority are families with children. Our values, which we live by every day, are: Client-First Mindset – We prioritize the perspective of the refugee, SIV or asylum seeker first, attaining their input as much as we can. Their needs and ideas matter above what we may think is best for them. Dignity – We lead with respect and dignity in all we do. We only accept donations of items that are in good condition and engage in activities and promotions that respect those we serve. Equality – We value everyone’s opinion and contribution equally and do not make judgements based on race, country of origin, gender or sexual orientation Cross-Cultural Sensitivity – We try our best to take into consideration the traditions and expectations of other cultures and also inform them of ours. Community Building – We believe our work is stronger if we all collaborate. We encourage relationships between and among clients and volunteers, and seek out partnerships within the larger community and refugee care organizations.

About the Organization:

Homes Not Borders (HNB)’s mission is to provide refugees and forced migrants of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area so that they can thrive and feel at home. Our goal is to help our clients set up, step and move up through four programs: Home Set Ups, Storytelling Training and Performance, Artisan Empowerment, and the Moving Up Fund. Eighty five percent of our clients are from Asia: mostly Afghanistan and Burma. The majority are families with children. Our values, which we live by every day, are: Client-First Mindset – We prioritize the perspective of the refugee, SIV or asylum seeker first, attaining their input as much as we can. Their needs and ideas matter above what we may think is best for them. Dignity – We lead with respect and dignity in all we do. We only accept donations of items that are in good condition and engage in activities and promotions that respect those we serve. Equality – We value everyone’s opinion and contribution equally and do not make judgements based on race, country of origin, gender or sexual orientation Cross-Cultural Sensitivity – We try our best to take into consideration the traditions and expectations of other cultures and also inform them of ours. Community Building – We believe our work is stronger if we all collaborate. We encourage relationships between and among clients and volunteers, and seek out partnerships within the larger community and refugee care organizations.

organizational budget

$1 MILLION - $2 MILLION

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Hawaii

organizational budget

$1 MILLION - $2 MILLION

existence for

0-5 Years

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

Hawaii

The Issue:

Newly-arrived refugee families face so many challenges as they adjust to life in the U.S., usually after harrowing and sometimes dangerous journeys, and the loss of homes, jobs, extended family and connections. Many skills that they had in their home countries, be it translation or agriculture, are not valued here in the D.C. region. Ninety five percent of the refugees from Asia who come to the D.C. region come through a refugee resettlement agency, which gives them $1200 per person and some social services for 90 days, far too few for the transition to life in the U.S. They often arrive with limited English, no jobs, and little to no money of their own. Without outside support, a family of four can easily spend over $4000 on just furnishing their apartments with basic furniture, housewares and personal care items, leaving them with only $800 to spend on food and sustenance until they find jobs. Many of the women, coming from collectivist, patriarchal societies that value male employment, are left at home with young children and no opportunities to connect with others or earn income for their families. Stigmas against seeking mental health care can result in mental illnesses, such as depression, or social ills, such as domestic violence - a hidden, rarely talked about scourge in the Asian-American community. It is the same situation that many of our parents, grandparents, or ancestors faced when arriving in this country, but we can help change the narrative of poverty, discrimination, and voicelessness to one of being seen, heard, empowered, and united. As an organization that is majority Asian-led, serving a majority Asian population, Homes Not Borders is proud to be part of this change.

The Solution:

HNB has four programs to help people set up, step up and move up. Our Home Set Up program has volunteers set up apartments for refugees with everything they need, saving them on average $3,600 in furniture and home goods. HNB provides everything from couches and beds, to cookware, razors and toothbrushes. “You guys blew my mind…,” said one client. HNB tries to evoke that feeling every time. HNB also provides culturally appropriate items; for example, we give tea kettles to all our Afghan, Rohingya and Karen clients. Our Artisan Empowerment Program gives refugee artisans a marketplace for their items on our online site www.newneighbordesigns.com and at periodic community events. The objective and benefits are to help refugee artisans, most of whom are stay-at-home mothers, earn extra income for their family, encourage them to start their own businesses, and engage with the larger community. Rabia explains, “I am very happy to be doing this as knitting has been a way for me to forgive the pain and sacrifices that I have made. [I can]...earn my own money while being of service to society and others as well as myself.” Our Storytelling Program, in partnership with The Moth, gives refugees a voice and platform to tell their personal stories, while also helping them process their trauma. When asked for one word to describe the storytelling class, one Afghan participant said, “Empowered.” Our Moving Up Fund provides three months of partial rent relief so refugees can attend training to upskill and find better jobs. HNB initiated this program after we saw the gap between the availability of training programs and refugees’ ability to take time off from their jobs (mostly low wage and inflexible shift work). Habib said, “[The Moving Up Fund] allowed me to attend several workshops […]. These trainings paved the path to get an unexpected full-time job in the medical field with good pay….” The Moving Up Fund is an innovative solution that complements existing programs. Together, these programs ease the transition to the U.S. and the many resource, logistical, cultural, and linguistic challenges that come with that transition.

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