Who are Vermont’s Refugees?
Refugees are people who have been forced to flee their homes due to violence, natural disaster, or persecution based on their race, religion, ethnic group, or political involvement. There are over 65 million refugees worldwide.
Refugees come to Vermont with the help of VRRP, Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, a local non-profit in Colchester, VT. After a long and thorough application process through the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and Homeland Security, refugees are referred to VRRP for resettlement. They are expected to be self sufficient within 3 to 6 months of arriving in the US.
Most refugees who resettle in Vermont have lived in refugee camps for many years, and have suffered from persecution, violence, instability, deprivation and homelessness.
Refugees in Vermont come from: Bosnia, Burma, Bhutan, Burundi, Rwanda, Vietnam, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, and Russia.
Most now live in and near Colchester, Winooski, and Burlington. CVRAN is committed to finding housing and employment opportunities for newly arriving refugees in the Central Vermont region in the next few years.
What Does CVRAN Do?
We advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants and for policies that will create a positive living situation for newly arriving Vermonters. CVRAN interacts with legislators and agencies to promote these goals and works to connect new Vermonters to elected officials.
CVRAN brings groups of both recent arrivals and established residents from Chittenden and Rutland Counties to Central Vermont to visit the State House, the Vermont History Museum, and additional sites of interest. We also facilitate introductions with elected officials and host shared meal events.
We assist in networking and mentoring, connecting Vermont business organizations to New Vermonters seeking jobs. CVRAN partners with immigrant organizations to facilitate employment advancement and assist in identifying job opportunities for Vermont’s refugee population.
Central Vermont Refugee Action Network is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making our local communities welcoming, viable, and safe places for refugees and immigrants to visit, work, and live in. We work in cooperation with the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program and other Vermont refugee and immigrant organizations to achieve these goals.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE SUPPORT
Our members work as conversation partners and provide language tutoring that refugees need to interact with state agencies, organizations, and potential employers. CVRAN also provides English language learning materials to families.
We raise funds for and distribute welcome gifts consisting of a cutting board and kitchen knives to each new family resettling in Vermont.
BUILD BRIDGES WITH VERMONT COMMUNITIES
CVRAN sponsors films, panels, speakers, social events and publications to familiarize and connect local communities with the cultures, history, and experiences of New Vermonters.
CULTURAL SENSITIVITY EDUCATION
We sponsor events that increase understanding of Vermont’s immigrant cultures through visits to mosques, temples, churches, festivals, and neighborhoods, and through informal personal and social dialogue.
FUTURE RESETTLEMENT IN CENTRAL VERMONT
CVRAN assesses housing, employment, and educational opportunities in Central Vermont with the goal of assisting refugees wanting to join our communities.