I was driving to work and listening to radio when I started to hear drums, rattles and gongs, the rhythm of African Music. I was enjoying the song and at the same time curious about the name of group playing it, at the end of the song the broadcaster said it was “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars”.
When I got home that night I searched for the group and I found their website www.refugeeallstars.org. Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars is a documentary and tells “the remarkable and uplifting story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians who came together to form a band while living as refugees in the Republic of Guinea. A brutal civil war (1991-2002) forced them from their homes in Sierra Leone. Through music they found a place of refuge, a sense of purpose and a source of power”
I was reading the synopsis and commentaries and the word struggle once more was over my head. These refugees overcame struggle through music, like some of our participants have found their strength by being a part of MRC’s sewing and/or soccer program, where they have new roles of learning or improving skills.
But what about the ones who are still struggling, and have decided to leave because they never felt they could make it?
The past weeks I have heard from some of our participants stories about refugees who could not adjust their life in Austin. Lack of job opportunities, a different environment with no relatives or close friends, that have made them make the hard decision to go back and face again the reality of their countries at war and in political crisis, having the fear of encountering hostility and not feeling welcome.
This made me think about what we can do for them and how you can help us. Thursday night and Saturday afternoon MRC’s volunteers help refugees with their resumes and guide them on how to look and apply for jobs. There is always someone who is waiting for one of the volunteers to become available to start to help them fill out an online job application or translae their resumes. Every week we update a job list available for our participants. If you know about a place that is hiring or would like to volunteer with MRC send us an email or post a comment and we can spread the word through our participants.
We do not want to see our participants leave; together we can help them become stars of their new life in Austin.