This month, I am sharing another community perspective. Nsiona Nguizani, President of the Angolan Community Association of Maine, reflects on the support and the work you made possible.
How are the donations making an impact?
We’ve been able to hire a whole team to support the incoming asylum seekers. You need clothes? We’ll take you to get clothes, and translate for you. We can take you to the doctor and help you register your kids in school.
60% of the people at the Expo were children under 18 – that’s a lot of kids running around! And the parents were busy with many tasks, so we hired women from our community to take care of the kids. Interpreters are helping the legal volunteers and the vaccination volunteers. Logistics people help with transportation.
It’s a huge team effort, and donations are making it possible!
Were there stories of hope?
Oh, yes! A lady came in with her family, wearing a GPS ankle monitor because immigration wanted to track her. We connected her to the immigration department in Maine, and they took off the monitor. She was so relieved that she was literally dancing and singing! She felt trusted and safe – like, “I’m accepted now. I can live free in America.” She came into my office, dancing and blessing me and hugging me!
What’s been surprising for you?
The funds people put together – in the first few days at the Expo, people had given something like $250,000. And the asylum seekers hadn’t even all arrived yet! The way the hospital came with blankets, the Red Cross set up mattresses, the city opened the Expo, and so many people gave so we could hire a whole team to support the asylum seekers. The fact that people come willing to help, eager to help. It’s amazing.
What keeps you going?
I always say to myself, “Life doesn’t make sense, if you don’t share it with others.” We are social helpers, though we don’t all know it. But when you get conscious of it, and put it to work – that’s going to keep you going. I have to do something, I need to share my love with others, that’s the only way it makes sense.
Many of you chose to support the new asylum seekers through the Solidarity Fund. What a powerful decision and what an impact you’ve made!
From all of us at Maine Initiatives, thank you for supporting the Solidarity Fund.
Program Officer / Coordinator
Maine Initiatives / Immigrant and Refugee Funders Collaborative