What is the need?
There are 44 million people in the world who have been forced to leave their homes due to widespread violence, political repression, ethnic persecution, or natural disaster.
In order to survive, many refugees and immigrants begin a long hard journey towards new life in America. In the past 5 years, Georgia as received 12,703 refugees. More than half-century’s global crises are reflected in the demographics of Atlanta’s Chamblee/Doraville neighborhood. Often called the “International Village,” it is home to one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the USA, with 761 language groups, from over 145 countries represented. Due to poverty and discrimination, resettled immigrants are often drawn into crime, undereducated in the public school system, overworked, underpaid and eventually lose hope.
What is our response?
Refugee Beads exists to show love and restore dignity through community and economic opportunities.
We accomplish this mission and restore hope through three areas of development:
· Income Generating Jewelry Program- Women not only learn a marketable, transferable skill, but receive immediate income for the jewelry they create contributing to the sustainability of their families.
· After School Program for Elementary Students- Three days a week, 30 Children are welcomed with a snack, homework help, a hot meal and most importantly a role model. Students improve by a whole letter grade just by having someone present while doing their homework.
· Leadership Training/Mentoring for Middle School & High School Students- From a young age, students learn to be “servant-leaders” in their community, helping younger kids with homework, cooking meals and cleaning. Through mentoring relationships we teach by example. Students attend a retreat and a community development conference.
How are we unique?
In each of our programs, we are developing the women, children and teenagers to become leaders, giving back to their own communities. The income the women earn through jewelry making supports their work of caring for newly arriving refugees. The kids at after school program are learning what it takes to become student leaders. And those young leaders are given ownership of the program as well as paid work with Refugee Beads as they enter adulthood.
What are the results of Refugee Beads efforts to date?
· Out of our 11 women who earn income through Refugee Beads’ jewelry program, 2 are now home owners, and 3 are now US citizens. Their income has grown every year.
· Out of the 30 children in after school program last year, 43% graduated to became student leaders this year. The seniors who participated in our program this year ALL graduated from high-school.
· A young man that grew up in our after school program, and went through our leadership training, now earns income managing the program. He is now training new student leaders, in the same way he was trained. We have more student leaders then ever (13) due to his example, especially an increase in young men participating.
· Three of our student leaders have gone on to earned income through selling Refugee Beads jewelry. They are the living example of our program coming full circle.
The following characteristics, founded on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, define the work of Refugee Beads:
- Relational: Refugee Beads is defined by its love for God and its love for other people. Because of this, we give priority to building and sustaining personal relationships.
- Peaceful: Refugee Beads strives to foster peace in communities divided by bitterness, ignorance, and pride. We will encourage communication between parties and help to heal interpersonal wounds.
- Humble: Refugee Beads refuses to condescend to the people it works with. We will show the same Christ-like love to the needy that we show to the privileged. We will likewise gladly accept the love that others show to us.
- Hospitable: Refugee Beads sees the home as the primary ministry center. We will invite guests into our homes, and we will visit those who open their homes to us.
- Holistic: Our passion to spread the gospel includes practical, consistent incarnation of the love of Jesus, who fed the hungry, healed the sick, played with kids, and addressed the suffering of those around him.
- Creative: Refugee Beads is a ministry in service to a creator God. Our work, words, and relationships will all be avenues for us to practice creativity, to reveal His character.