> Change A Heart Member Designs Refugee Resettlement Program

Change A Heart Member Designs Refugee Resettlement Program


When Nazra Kazia learned about the opportunity to spend a year serving with the refugee resettlement program at Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Pittsburgh she immediately said “yes!” Nazra, a native of Nairobi Kenya, was excited to meet the challenge.

During the first two months with Change A Heart, Nazra spent her first two months engaging with and becoming aware of the “plight” of refugees fleeing from their countries out of fear of persecution. Nazra and Catholic Charities Executive Director Susan Rauscher discussed the possibility of Nazra researching and developing a refugee simulation model. This model would then be used as a tool to enlighten and educate people about the refugee experience.

After six months of research, Nazra developed a two part program; part one is a series of small acting vignettes that invites each person to either act the part of the refugee or the American with a series of what forces them from their homeland, and what they go through in the early days of arrival and the weeks following. The second part is a Power Point presentation that provides statistics of refugees fleeing to the U.S., Australia, Canada and Nordic countries, only to encounter “new” barriers that would complicate their resettlement; language, culture shock, mental health, limited aid from the state, non-transferrable educational certifications, and the insecurities of knowing that some of their family members were left behind.

The program was introduced in mid-July and it will be implemented by Catholic Charities in parishes, and among other non-profits and groups. For more information or to view the Power Point, contact Pat Moran, pmoran@sosf.org.

We wish Nazra peace and all good things as her time with our Change A Heart service program comes to an end, and she continues to live our Franciscan values of community, service and simplicity.

Learn more about the Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program.