ASAN is a committee of CVRAN dedicated to helping asylum seekers. Asylum seekers are individuals who have fled their home country based on fear of persecution and are seeking international protection. They are here legally after presenting a credible case of threat to their lives or those of their family from their countries of origin. They are not allowed to work for wages for a year from the time their application for asylum is filed, which itself is a lengthy process. After that it can take up to three years before they are granted asylee status. Thus, they must rely on organizations like ours to meet their needs.
Currently, the ASAN committee is supporting three individuals from African countries who are seeking asylum. This is in addition to a family of four from South America whom we have supported for the past two years. This family is now quite independent, are gainfully employed and have become valued members of the community.
Some of the services ASAN supplies are the basics: a place to live with a host family, food and clothing, medical appointments, educational assessments and classes to master the English language, as well as a listening ear and friendship. Very importantly, legal representation is secured as they prepare their cases.
It has been gratifying to welcome these individuals and to see through their eyes what a very special
place we have to call home in Vermont. Our hope is to continue our efforts and increase the number of
asylum seekers we can support.