What Does CVRAN Do?
Resettlement of Afghan Refugees
Some Afghan families, evacuated by U.S. forces in August 2021 when the Taliban came to power, are now living in Vermont. CVRAN, working with the Vermont branch of the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants – USCRI – and with committed local residents, has been part of the support network in settling five Afghan families, consisting of 11 adults and 22 children, in Montpelier.
As a part of this partnership, CVRAN, is assisting with locating and facilitating both short-term and more permanent housing, primarily in rental apartments and houses. CVRAN volunteers are a part of the support of the Afghan families located here, for example providing transportation to medical appointments,shopping and religious services. Volunteers have helped register the children in the local schools and the adults in basic English language classes. They have helped with opening bank accounts, obtaining drivers’ licenses, and finding employment. The goal is to help our New Vermonters obtain as much self-sufficiency as possible.
Work with Asylum Seekers
Since 2019 CVRAN has offered support to individuals and families who moved to Central Vermont while seeking asylum. We have a broad-based support network of local volunteers who assist asylum seekers with housing, food, medical care, language interpretation, transportation, legal counsel, and other services as needed while they move through the legal process and await final decisions on their requests for asylum.
We have hosted asylum seekers from South America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Again, self-sufficiency is the goal.
Work with Migrant Farm Workers
Large dairy farms in Vermont would be unable to produce milk without the labor of migrant workers from Mexico and Central America. These undocumented laborers may receive low wages and face poor working conditions, inadequate housing, and arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In cooperation with Migrant Justice, a Burlington based organization formed by and for farm workers, CVRAN members have tutored migrants at local dairy farms and provided instruction, transportation, activities, and friendship. Once a year CVRAN hosts the Mexican Consulate from Boston in providing Mexican migrant workers with identity documents, legal advice, and medical care.
CVRAN advocates for the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrant farm workers and for policies that will create secure and positive living situations for them. CVRAN interacts with legislators and state and local agencies to promote these goals. It also helps to link new Vermonters to elected officials. Our work, along with that of other advocacy groups, has helped result in the release of detained migrant workers, Vermont’s Fair and Impartial Policing law, Montpelier’s Sanctuary City policy, and the Social Equity in Vermont’s Schools bill.
Introduction to Our State
CVRAN has brought groups of new Vermonters 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 meals and other shared events with New Vermonters. We raise funds and distribute welcome gifts of a cutting board and kitchen knives to new families resettling in Vermont. In addition we distribute Oxford picture dictionaries and other language learning materials to help in the acquisition of English.
English Language Support
Our members work as conversation partners and provide language tutoring which will help refugees, asylum seekers and migrant workers interact in their new settings as friends, neighbors, employees, and future citizens.
Bridges with Local Vermont Communities
CVRAN sponsors public forums with films, panels, speakers, social events and media outreach to create awareness of the cultures, history, and experiences of our New Vermonters. CVRAN speaks at local organizations about its work and about volunteer opportunities.
Hosting Mexican Consulate
CVRAN hosts an annual visit from the Mexican Consulate in Boston to provide Mexican migrant workers with identity documents, legal advice, and medical care.
Collaboration / Partnerships
CVRAN works in cooperation with other organizations such as the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants (Vermont Refugee Resettlement program), Migrant Justice, American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, Association of Africans Living in Vermont, Green Mountain Bhutanese Organization, the Mexican Consulate in Boston, UVM Migrant Education, Bridges to Health, Central Vermont Adult Basic Education, Montpelier Area Schools, Vermont Adult Learning, Community College of Vermont, Refugee and Immigrant Service Providers Network, the Islamic Center of Vermont, the Vermont New Hampshire Asylum Seeker Support Network, Angry Tias and Abuelas, Asylum Seekers Support Network, and others.
Central Vermont Refugee Action Network Board of Directors:
President: Rachel Cogbill
Treasurer: Don Welch
Secretary: Diane Fitch