by John Steinberger | February 27, 2017 7:20 pm
Brian Evanger from the Charleston office of Lutheran Services Carolinas announced that five refugee families consisting of 28 people have been resettled in the Charleston area since January. According to Evanger, 24 of the refugees are from The Congo and four are from Iraq, both war-torn countries. He said most of the refugees are children and that 12 of them will be enrolled in the Charleston County School District.
Lutheran Services Carolinas places refugees through the U.S. State Department. Among the services the agency provides are housing placement, school enrollment assistance and facilitating access to social services and welfare programs, such as food stamps and Medicaid. The families receive a one-time $950 stipend and must re-imburse the State Department for airfare within 6 months.
Evanger says that his agency is working with local churches to help the refugee families with job placement and English language training. The goal is to make the refugees self-sufficient and to assimilate into the American culture.
The Congolese have been ensnared in a civil war for decades related to a spillover of Hutu tribesman who were routed by the Tutsis in Rwanda and other neighboring countries.
More than 10,000 Congolese refugees have settled in America since 2001. More than 80% of the people of The Congo are Christian, according to a report by British newspaper The Guardian. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have reported that the Congolese refugee population has had some cases of Tuberculosis, hepatitis and malaria. Lutheran Services Carolinas provides health screening and access to medical care for the refugees. Learn more at http://www.lscarolinas.net/services-for-refugees/
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