GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – June 20 is World Refugee Day, a day designated to recognize the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country.
As crises continue across the globe like the war in Ukraine, Americans are stepping up to help refugee agencies in the region.
Nearly 7,000 Ukrainian refugees have found safety in the United States, with some 20,000 more expected to arrive. One Greenville woman is hoping to get her father and sister here through the Biden Administration’s new program “Uniting for Ukraine.”
Originally from Ukraine, Kate Ker now calls Greenville her home. She said the recently launched “Uniting for Ukraine” program is helping get people here to the United States.
“It’s amazing we have this program going, we’ve been waiting for it for so long because I remember when the war just started, the United States promised that they will accept some refugees, but there were no program for this,” said Ker.
Ker said she is hoping to be a sponsor in order to help provide any help needed to get refugees on their feet.
“It’s very important for them to have a sponsor who will help, especially the first few months or maybe even the first year,” explained Ker.
She said under this program, refugees can stay here for two years.
“It’s not just to stay here, it’s also they’re going to pay taxes, they’re going to work, which is amazing,” said Ker.
Dr. Sachiyo Shearman is a board member of the Interfaith Refugee Ministry in New Bern. She said the organization has been welcoming refugees from around the world to Eastern North Carolina for years. She said on World Refugee Day, it’s important to educate people on some misconceptions about refugees.
“I know, initially, refugees need some help, right before they get settled, but most of them actually become self-sustained within six months,” said Shearman.
And as for Ker, she said her hope on this World Refugee Day …
“If we can be patient, if we can be extra kind, extra caring, that will be great. I’m very, very thankful for our community, for the United States and as a whole country for huge support, for patience for wisdom.”