Miry's List gives refugees comfort during the scary and difficult process of resettlement.
When refugees come to the United States, they have to fight to get back on their feet. Refugees arrive with few personal belongings, little money, and often several small children in tow. When Miry Whitehill learned the reality of living in America as a refugee, she knew she needed to get involved. Her non-profit, Miry’s List, helps refugees by crowdsourcing the basic household items they need. Miry’s List has 30 employees to assist more than 100 refugee families resettling in California. She says most come from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, and Iraq.
According to Whitehill, “The goal of our program is to try to take refugees in the transition from ‘survive’ to ‘thrive’. They all start in survival mode and we want to get them to thrive.”
Families face an uphill battle when trying to quickly secure employment, transportation, and equip kids for school. Global Citizen explains, “The average refugee family resettled in the US takes a $2,500 loan from the US State Department to cover the cost of a flight, housing, and basic needs when they arrive.” The money doesn’t go far, and families are required to begin paying it back after three months.
Miry’s mission has inspired people from all over the world to help by purchasing items on Amazon, personally selected by the families. “There are so many people who are honored to provide for refugees and we provide the avenue for that,” said Whitehill.
Miry's List is about making new friends: helping our new friends, learning from our new friends and welcoming our new friends. A refugee is a person who has been forced to flee their home country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee is a person who has a well-founded fear for the safety of their own livelihood and that of their families. The US is a safe haven for refugees from around the world. In 2016, the state of California took in more refugees from war-torn Syria than any other state, and most of the resettled Syrian refugees are now living in San Diego. Founded in LA, Miry's List is committed to welcoming our new neighbors with open arms and making sure they have the basic supplies they need to re-start their lives here in the US. #miryslist #community #crowdsourcing #aidtosyrianrefugees #socal #volunteer #refugeeswelcome
Whitehill says letting families make simple choices for their new life— such as the colour of bed sheets— is very empowering.
“We curate the lists with the family and they tell us the things they need to feel good and for self-care,” she said. “Because sometimes the things you need to survive are not the same as the things you need to feel alive.”
Whitehill also created a Miry’s List supper club, where dinners help integrate refugees with the community, and other families. They share traditional dishes from their homes, while learning from each other and networking.
The Miry’s List program often comes full circle. Whitehill says that when a family begins to thrive, they want to give back by helping newer families. Miry’s List also plans begin a funding project to pay for refugee flights.
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