Making Government Work

Think You Can’t Afford To Give? These Inspirational Immigrants Will Change Your Mind

January 7, 2014
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Think You Can’t Afford To Give? These Inspirational Immigrants Will Change Your Mind
Submitted Photo via Triblive.com
Former refugees help new refugees start their lives in America.

Sometimes people with the least to give are the most generous. In Pittsburgh, a group of about 90 former refugees banded together over the holidays to donate hundreds of necessities for new refugees. The group — most of whom had arrived in the U.S. over the last several years from Turkey, Bhutan, South Sudan and Thailand — are all students participating in the Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council’s English language classes. They first started giving back about three years ago, when their program services manager, Many Ly, saw a poster seeking donations for military families and decided to implement the idea with the ESL students. Ly thought that sort of cause would teach the students to help others the way they’d been helped when they first arrived in America.The donations were small at first: pens and pencils, a handful of peanuts and a $1 bill. But after the first year of giving, the ESL instructors began teaching their students about poverty in America. They now give caches of household goods, toys and clothes. Tulasha Rimal, 45, who came to the U.S. from Bhutan four years ago, told Stephanie Hacke of Trib Total Media, “I came to the United States. It’s home now. It’s important to help others. … I understand now. Now I help new people.”

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