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Spotlight | Encounters
December 11, 2021

ENCOUNTERS SECOND ISSUE

Cho Too, a refugee himself who came from Burma in 1988, has been serving others turbulently displaced from their homes and traveling to the United States. Clients, coworkers, and guests have come and gone, but his commitment to the service of a vulnerable population has remained steadfast. Even in times of distress, when the integration work that needs to be done dwarfs the man power available at Catholic Charities, Cho preserves. An energetic man, he discusses the countless processes he must undertake during a typical integration of a person or family in a way that makes it seem significantly less daunting than it appears on paper.
Catholic Charities of northern Indiana has a program, of which Cho is a part of, that facilitates the integration of refugees into the local community. Direction is received from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the form of the assignment of cases (USCCB is one of 9 entities that works with the federal government in facilitating refugee sponsorship and then passes on actual integration duties to local partners). The program lasts 3 months and begins with picking up the refugees at their local airport and ends formally with a final send off (though informally continues on for years as when trouble arises, the lasting personal relationships endure). It includes everything from enrolling children in school and obtaining healthcare/insurance to assigning social security numbers and getting meaningful employment. Cho has a hand in every step of the way and certainly displays an impressively diverse skill set in handling his caseload, though he says 90 days is not enough for refugees to truly immerse themselves in their new lives. Other countries, such as those in the Scandinavian region of Europe, have programs lasting up to a year allowing more in depth integration and long term successes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ENCOUNTERS FIRST ISSUE

Let's to know the story of Muguleta Haybano through his direct telling of the challenges he had to face in order to integrate into American society and what his desire is, once he graduated from the master's degree. Interview by Abigail Helme and Theresa Salazar

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