About CARE-Austin

Our organization focuses on new arrivals who were expelled from their home countries or were under threats so serious that remaining in their native land put their lives at risk. They come from countries in turmoil, where conflict, uncertainty, and fear may have been their reality for years prior to their securing exit visas. Some of them were in danger because of their association with the U.S.: many of Austin’s Afghan refugees found their lives and the lives of their families threatened because they worked as translators for American troops or otherwise aided our military. Some were members of minority religious or ethnic groups living under state-sanctioned discrimination or ethnic cleansing. Some saw the children of their friends kidnapped and held for ransom, or taken away to serve as child-soldiers, or murdered. These are individuals and whole families whose lives, educations, and futures were circumvented by dictatorial regimes, chaotic rebellions, internal dislocation, and social instability, who found themselves desperately in need of a safe refuge.

Some refugees who arrive on our shores were forbidden to learn how to read and write in their native language. They have never learned to drive a car, swim, or ride a bicycle. Others spent years in their home countries training as doctors, lawyers, or engineers but now, because of language issues or educational credentials that do not mesh with those of American institutions, cannot take advantage of their professional skills and must work as manual laborers or security guards.

The American tradition of immigration and its identity as a sanctuary for the displaced has created in every citizen a historical memory of how difficult it is to be uprooted and forced to reinvent a life in a language and culture that feel unnatural. Many of us have heard family stories of relatives’ escape, dislocation, resettlement and struggle, knowing that our comfort and security were bought for us by the commitment and determination of ancestors who would live out their lives as people with accents, so that their descendants could grow up knowing no other life but freedom and opportunity.

In the Hebrew tradition, the word for “charity” is the same as the word for “justice.” We help others who are struggling because are some things that no human being should be without: food, a shelter where they can feel safe and unafraid, a sense of being valued and cared for, a chance to work for a better future. Refugees are people who, by accident of history, found themselves stateless and in search of a harbor. We are here to welcome them home.