Refugee program eye-opening

To the Editor:

I recently attended a meet and greet at the International Institute of New England at their small office on Elm Street. The standing room only audience listened attentively as Manchester Site Director Amadou Hamady and his staff explained how they find and set up apartments for refugees, meet them at the airport, teach them English, help them adjust to our culture, teach them job skills and help them find employment. Mr. Hamady repeatedly expressed how supportive the Manchester community has been in resettling refugees and how thankful his staff and the refugee community are for this support.

As part of the presentation, a young doctor, who arrived in the U.S. from the Congo last year, told us, in broken but understandable English, of the brutal treatment and atrocities by rebels and soldiers towards him, his family, and hundreds of others. Many in the audience wept along with this man as he ended by saying he did not know the fate of his wife and four children. You can imagine the astonishment and sadness in the room when it was announced that President Trump had ordered a stop to refugee resettlement for four months.

Mr. Hamady said the International Institute will continue to work with refugees they are already working with and will prepare for the reopening of the refugee program in the near future.

Corrie Cockrell

Bedford