January 2017 - Update regarding Executive Order

The President just signed an executive order that suspends the entry of Syrian refugees into the United States. www.saraorg.org

Unfortunately, the president is punishing the victims. This decision harms so many refugees who are in the process of being approved to come to the U.S. These refugees were selected by U.S. representatives because they were good candidates for resettlement; now they are in no man’s land. Since the U.S. vetting process takes 18 to 28 month, there are so many people in the pipeline.

We know of families who had been told that they were approved and got airline tickets to depart in the next few days. These refugees have given notices to their landlords, sold their furniture and other hard assets, packed their bags and some are on the way to the airport. This is another blow that these unlucky refugees have to endure. This is just sad.

Austin has received Syrian refugee families and SARA will focus on easing the transition and settling experience for them. Our heart goes out to those who were coming, but now cannot.
www.saraorg.org

January 2017 Update

Dear Friends,

Last week a Syrian refugee family arrived to Austin Texas; the first arrival of 2017. SARA expects more to come until the new administration adopts its policy on immigration.

SARA Org is expanding its programs to the 130 refugee children with mentoring and communications.

SARA Org is holding a volunteer meeting this January 28th. A detailed communication about the meeting will be sent to those who registered with us online by the end of this week. www.saraorg.org

Thanks,
Bassam

December 2016 Update

Dear Friends,

2016 brought 40 Syrian refugee families to Austin, TX. Let us make 2017 a wonderful year for the refugees.

SARA Org is starting projects for the women and children in addition to the continuous efforts of helping refugee families become self-sufficient. The women are working hard to become bread winners. You can help by:
1) Ordering food: Check the menu http://www.saraorg.org/catering.html
2) Get your cloth alterations done. http://www.saraorg.org/sewing.html (Recently arrived a tailor with 20 years of experience.) 
 3) Adopt a family http://www.saraorg.org/adopt-a-family.html
4) Give to the cause by pressing the green give button at

Thanks,

Bassam

December 2016: Mid-Month Update

SARA is excited to share our latest news: we were able to get cars for three refugee families! Because they have family members who are still in danger, we can't show their pictures as they heard the news about the cars. We wish we could--it was a wonderful day for all of us. Here's a little more about them (and pictures of the kinds of cars they received):

1) Gateway Community Church members worked together to raise money for a car to be given to a refugee. When Gateway raised the money, SARA matched 50% of the amount and purchased two cars total! 
A) We were able to give a 2007 Chrysler Town & Country to a family of 8 who arrived Austin in June of this year. The father of this family has a heart monitor and is diabetic. Having a minivan will help him avoid long walks or waiting for the bus. The van will also help support his family's growing catering business. The large family was ecstatic and very thankful.

B) 2) With Gateway & SARA contributions we purchased a 2006 Toyota Camry LE for a family of three. The father was disabled by a missile attack on his home in Syria. The mother is the only one able to work; their teenage daughter goes to school. This car will help the mother avoid hours of commuting on the bus and help the family get on their feet.

2) A generous donor gave SARA a Lexus RX 300. SARA took the car to a mechanic who fixed a couple of issues free of charge once he learned that the car was going to a refugee family. 
The Lexus RX 300 was given to a family of four, a couple with a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son. The young family was all smiles; they are very thankful to everyone who contributed toward their getting this car.

If you are interested in helping other deserving refugee families have access to the transportation they need, please donate now at sarorg.org (all proceeds go directly to helping refugee families). If your church, mosque, or group of friends wants to work together to purchase a car, please use the contact form on our website to let us know: http://www.saraorg.org/contact-us.html. It was a wonderful day at SARA--helping refugee families have reliable transportation which is a critical part of what we are able to do and we couldn't have done it without our generous donors. Thank you for your support!

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November 2016 Update

Dear Friends,

Syrian refugee arrivals slowed down in November, but the month was eventful. SARA website & Facebook page scored record visits in November, but the fundraising was at SARA’s lowest amount and well below the needed level. 

SARA outlays have risen as several families are struggling with rent and other payments. There are 37 Syrian refugee families (128 children & 80 adults) in Austin.

Please support SARA with donations at www.saraorg.org

12 cars are needed for recent Syrian refugee families. Donate a car and get tax deductions through SARA Organization.

Syrian women refugees are witnessing increased fear driven acts. A refugee woman boarded a transit bus with a large bag. Besides the strange looks, once she sat in a chair, few people around her moved away to the end of the bus! She smiled and wondered how she at an age of over 50 years old and having had a luxurious life before being forced to become a refugee, that some people think of her as a threat!

Another woman noticed that her supervisor at a hotel started, after the election, to search the rooms after she had made them. Does electing a new president make supervisors suspicious of employees? She asks!

Sometimes refugee women hear people shouting at them in the streets or from cars, but the women don’t understand what’s being said and just ignore it. 
The Syrian refugee men don’t typically get shouted at. 
So far no violence has been reported.

SARA continues to help Syrian refugee with: rents and utility payments, jobs, subsidized housing, transportation, training and tutoring. 
Please keep supporting SARA and thank you for being a friend.

Bassam
www.saraorg.org

October 2016 Update

Dear Friends,

Because of your support and the hard work of our amazing volunteers, SARA Organization is excited to introduce several new programs to help Syrian refugees in Austin.

There are currently 192 Syrian refugees living in Austin, Texas. The majority of Syrian refugee men in Austin are finding jobs; however the same is true for only 10% of the women. With SARA’s latest programs, we aim to train refugee women in skilled work so that they may become empowered and generate additional income for their families.

The SEWING Project: click here
Guided by one of our knowledgeable volunteers, we teach sewing in order to give women a unique skill that will help them in their path to self-sufficiency. You can become a customer by stopping by to have something altered.

The CATERING Project: click here
Many Syrian refugee women are excellent cooks and have obtained food handling certificates in Austin. These women have catered food for several parties, individuals and functions. SARA aims to facilitate this catering service by linking customers with cooks. Consider becoming a customer by having a refugee woman cater your next event.

ADOPT-A-FAMILY Project: click here
SARA will facilitate “adopting”, or sponsoring, a Syrian refugee family in Austin. By choosing to sponsor a refugee family (partially or fully) for a period of time, you will help ensure that their most basic needs are met until they become self-sufficient. Whether it’s by assisting with rent, utilities bill, internet, or simply a bus pass - there is a way for you to help.

If you have a skill or trade to teach refugees or if you have any job referrals, we would love to hear from you. Please e-mail us at sara@saraorg.org

As always, thank you so much for your outstanding support. We value each of you so much for your dedication to our mission. Please spread the word, share the post, keep the support strong, and reach out to your friends!

Thanks,

Bassam
www.saraorg.org