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Five moments San Diego inspired us during COVID-19

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In such uncertain times, the San Diego community has shown its support for refugees through random acts of kindness. Here are the top five moments we are grateful for during COVID-19:

1. Through Mask Up San Diego and with help from the IRC's Microenterprise team, Nagiba, a former refugee, used her background as a seamstress to make protective face masks to ensure San Diegans stay safe. After fleeing her home with her husband and two daughters, learning English as a second language and working to support her family for many years, Nagiba was able to open up her own business in El Cajon. From enrolling her in our Vocational ESL classes and work readiness training to helping her get her first job in the States to providing her with small business counseling and support, we are proud to have supported Nagiba every step of the way. You can follow her business, Rand’s Fashions, on Facebook here.

2.  With help from our partners at Baby2Baby, asylum-seeking and recently arrived refugee families, respectively, received much-needed items for newborn to toddler-aged children including diapers, baby wipes, clothes and other essentials.  

3. The Latinista, a professional networking group, created an Amazon wish list to help local partners that are providing housing to asylum-seeking families. Thanks to The Latinista, IRC clients received over $600 worth of items from Amazon including laundry detergent, food and snacks, dental hygiene products, water filters and Visa gift cards. To support their efforts and help asylum-seeking families access supplies, you can purchase items via their Amazon wish list here: https://amzn.to/2KP2sYc   

4. Our Green Affair, a local restaurant based in Pacific Beach, delivered fresh vegetables and fruits to refugees and asylum-seeking families living in temporary housing. 

5. Thanks to the kindness and generosity of our Vocational ESL volunteer, Patty, and her local choir, Afghan women participants of the cohort received a children’s music book, “Children’s Songs from Afghanistan” written in both Farsi and Pashto with songs in Hazaragi and Uzbeck. Patty, who spent two years in Afghanistan with the U.S. Peace Corps in 1969,  said to the class: “We all hope you and your children will have many years of fun listening and learning to sing some of the children’s songs of Afghanistan. I know that here at IRC, we emphasize the learning of English, but I personally would like to encourage you to keep the wonderful Afghan culture, the languages and the music alive through the generations of your families. They are too precious to lose.” While in quarantine, VESL students have the opportunity to share their culture and history through music with their families. 

We are grateful for the generosity of the San Diego community, as we work to support some of the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. To see more moments like this, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter