BWC IJC hosts guests from Haiti

BWC IJC hosts guests from Haiti

While waiting for the committee’s “Humanitarian Parole” – Mirian, a young Cuban woman, eager to help support her family – to arrive from Cuba, but not knowing if that will be next week, next month, or next year, the BWC IJC has made its JP apartment available to other recent arrivals to Boston desperately needing a safe, comfortable home as they get themselves established.

On January 3rd, Neila and Vladimir, a couple from Port-au-a-Prince, Haiti, will be moving in. Neila and Vladimir arrived in Boston in October, and found assistance through the Old Cambridge Baptist Church, and have been living with a member of the church near Porter Square. They have been learning their way around Boston; getting signed up for MassHealth; applying for permission to work; and helping to arrange the arrival of Neila’s mother, brother, and sister from Haiti. 

Neila and Vladimir are relieved to be here. In Port au Prince, Vladimir had to abandon his education due to the escalation of violence, and the couple often could not spend time together because they could not safely get to each other’s homes. 

Just this past week their permission to work arrived, as did Neila’s sister, brother, and mother. While Neila and Vladimir move to JP, her family will take their place in the Cambridge apartment. They too will need their own apartment sometime soon.

We are so excited to have Neila and Vlad move into the apartment in JP, but we are also mindful that now a new phase of the committee’s work begins, helping Neila, Vladimir, and their family to establish themselves here in Boston. 

Our committee continues to partner with the Boston Immigration Justice Accompaniment Network (BIJAN) to assist them and other migrant families currently housed by the state. 

We know that many people would love to contribute and are not sure how they can do so. Here are some ways! 

Ways People can help Neila and Vladimir (JP Neighbors!)

  • Help Neila and Vlad find work. Neila is ultimately interested in nursing, but plans to use her experience in teaching to gain employment more immediately. Vladimir studied computer science for some time, and he now dreams of becoming a chef. 
  • Help them get to know the neighborhood – the T, stores, etc. (a weekly or biweekly commitment would be extra helpful) 
  • Help them get to appointments as needed, maybe driving them. 
  • Find English language learning opportunities in JP.
  • Make a weekly time to work on English with one or both of them. 
  • Bring them to a Market Basket weekly or biweekly. 

Ways that people can help with other new immigrants in need, in conjunction with the BIJAN and Boston Workers Circle:

  • Contribute clothing and gear: 
    • Clothes in good shape for adults and children, especially warm winter jackets, shoes and boots, hats, scarves, and gloves/mittens of all sizes. 
    • Diapers, wipes, infant formula (Similac)
    • Strollers and infant car seats 
    • Purchase Target gift cards to buy underwear and socks. 

Donations can be dropped off at: 

  • The BWC office at 6 Webster St, Brookline (Coolidge Corner area), Mondays and Tuesdays, 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. Hours may be different until early January. Contact the ijc@circleboston.org for hours. 
  • Havurat Shalom, 113 College Ave, Somerville. Leave items on the front porch.
  • In the JP area, email me dweinstein.math@gmail.com or text 857-334-9855 to arrange a drop off at our house. 
  • House a Family! Or reach out to other people who may be able to be hosts. 
    • This can be by sharing a room/space in your home or providing an apartment. 
    • Host for whatever period is comfortable: one night, one week, or more.
    • You will be matched with a family of a composition that you are comfortable hosting, and transportation will be arranged to and from your home. 
    • Very short term hosts provide basic food that the family can prepare for themselves, and you can be reimbursed for food costs. 
    • Most newly arriving families speak Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, and/or Portuguese. Proficiency in one or more of these languages is an asset, but it is not essential in order to volunteer as a host. 
    • If you are able to join us as a host, please fill out this form and let the BWC Immigrant Justice Committee know. We will do our best to muster volunteers to help you and your guests with translation, shopping, etc.
  • The BWC Immigrant Justice Committee meets each Wednesday at 6 PM on Zoom. Join us! One meeting a month is geared towards orienting new members. If you are interested in volunteering or finding out more, please email us at ijc@circleboston.org.

Get involved in a small way or a large way. Without a doubt, this is a moment for all of us who are comfortable and secure to help out one or more of the many people in transit looking for safety and the ability to support themselves and their families.To donate to our Go Fund Me account, click here.  (The majority of these funds have been used to make grants to new arrivals over the last six years, and we are also banking some funds to support Neila, Vladimir, and Mirian.)

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