The Grand Rapids Press – Far from the headlines, they live in the shadows in
“It is an absolutely hellish way to live,” said Kavita Shukla, an advocate for Refugees International in
Several dozen of these refugees are slated to arrive next year in
Bethany Christian Services has been alerted to expect as many as 50 minors in 2006, according to refugee specialist Dana Anderson. Mindful of that, the
It is one of 14 refugee resettlement agencies in the nation that specializes in placing unaccompanied minors and one of only two in
“We are looking for families to become licensed foster parents,” she said. “We are really looking for families to help them acculturate and make it here in
That could be a considerable challenge, given the circumstances that made them refugees.
Members of the Chin minority in
As Christians, they routinely are harassed or jailed for practicing their faith in a Buddhist nation that has been under military dictatorship for decades. They are denied jobs and access to schools.
According to the Chin Refugee Committee, about 12,000 Chin live in
Their situation has grown more precarious since March, when the Malaysian government began an aggressive policy of apprehension and deportation to
Over the past five years, Bethany Christian Services has placed more than a hundred unaccompanied minors from
Laurie Tibble-Hohnke, refugee foster care supervisor at
“They are doing beautifully,” she said, adding most are enrolled in college. “We want to be able to reach out. Now, we are asking