Boston Center for Refugee Health
&  Human Rights Newsletter
In This Issue
These Shoes Work in the Snow!
A Lesson in Giving
On the Road to Good Health
Join our Caring Community
Donate now.


Client Wish List


snowflakes.jpg New blankets, winter coats, mittens, hats and scarves


spa-still-life.jpgPersonal care and hygiene products


graphic-helping-hands.jpg Financial support for activities including career and leadership skills development, friendship and support groups, phone cards and transportation cards for medical appointments 



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Get involved!



-Plan a Fundraising Event


-Organize a collection for warm winter wear or hygiene products


-Attend an open house




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Our Mission

We provide holistic health care coordinated with social services and legal aid for asylum seekers, refugees, torture survivors and their families.


We also train professionals to serve this population, conduct research to understand and implement best-practices, and promote health and human rights, locally and globally, to improve the quality of life for torture survivors and their communities.




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TopFebruary 2014


We would like to wish you a Happy New Year and update you on a few program activities, but first, a few words of gratitude are in order.


Now that the groundhog has seen his shadow and we are promised six more weeks of winter, we are especially grateful to the many individuals who have donated warm clothing and blankets.  Thank you to the Crossroads Worship Center in Weymouth for their generous donation.  Special thanks go out to our dedicated volunteers including Edi Ablavsky, Evelyn Corsini, and Mary Kenyon who have gone above and beyond, organizing donations from friends and family to help our clients stay warm.  And, thanks to all of you who have donated money for Charlie Cards, which are particularly appreciated in the cold weather! 


Thank you all for your continued interest and support of our program!


 ~The BCRHHR Team


article1These shoes work in the snow!
Recently, in my role as a Refugee Patient Navigator at BCRHHR, I helped a young woman complete a health questionnaire. She was very shy and soft spoken. I knew she had arrived from Sub-Saharan Africa a few months before and was seeking asylum. She had a history of imprisonment and beating.

It was a bitterly cold New England day, but it was warm in the office so she took off the scarf covering her chest and arms. When she stood to leave, I noticed that the back of her sweater was more holes than yarn. I asked if she needed warm clothes. When she nodded "yes", I took her to the room where we store gently used clothes and blankets that have been donated.  She chose a sweater, a winter coat with a hood, a hat, and a pair of heavy work boots from the non-profit, Soles for Souls.

One week later, the day after the first snowfall in Boston, I accompanied her to a medical appointment and I noticed that she was wearing the coat and boots.  She pointed to the boots and with a big smile from ear to ear, said to me, "these shoes work in the snow!"

~Evelyn Corsini, Refugee Patient Navigator Volunteer
article1A Lesson in Giving
  Three young girls amid a large pile of winter clothing. When these three young girls were asked what they wanted for the holidays, one of them said that she had everything she needed -- that her gifts should go to someone who really needed them.  Her sisters quickly followed suit.  A BCRHHR volunteer had recently set up a donation box at their family's place of worship, requesting warm clothing for clients at the BCRHHR.  So, the family went on a shopping spree and purchased a mountain of new mittens, hats, sweatshirts, sweatpants, socks, and blankets to help keep our clients warm this winter. 
Thank you, girls, for your caring hearts!  And as one person commented on our Facebook page, "Thank you to the parents who still went out and bought [their children gifts] anyway, teaching their girls this awesome lesson!" 

 On the Road to Good Health
Tracey Burg, the nutritionist and chef in charge of the demo kitchen at BMC
Tracey Burg, nutritionist and chef at BMC  swaps healthy food recipes with a client.
When an individual or family is uprooted from all they are accustomed to, and face the daunting challenge of starting over in a strange, new culture, the experience often takes a toll on their health. This fall, we piloted a series of workshops to help clients learn about their health and navigate the health care system in the United States.  In these workshops, men and women from Uganda, Cameroon and Somalia learned how to prevent disease, manage their health, and prepare nutritious food in a new, unfamiliar environment. The classes culminated with a hands-on cooking session at Boston Medical Center's state of the art demonstration kitchen.
"It was very educative mostly because it helps one learn the difference in the health care system from one's country," one class member said. "One is able to make comparisons and also learn to adjust to the different myths and perceptions that he/she could have."
Saba Islam.
Saba Islam, Schweitzer Fellow
The workshops were developed and piloted by Saba Islam, a second-year BU medical student who joined the Center as a Schweitzer fellow in May 2013. She came to the U.S. from Bangladesh when she was two years old, and saw her parents struggle to make a life here. She spent a summer as an intern at Lutheran Family Services where she helped recent refugee families to forge a new life in the Boston area. These experiences contributed to her desire to help communities develop the skills they need to lead healthy, productive lives.
If you are a BCRHHR client who is interested in participating in a future workshop, please contact us at [email protected]

article1Join Us for a Caring Communities Event
Caring Communities Open House
Thursday, March 20th,  6:00 - 7:00 PM
Dowling Building,  7th Floor Conference Room

771 Albany St., Boston, MA


Caring Communities is a small group open house where you can learn more about how we work to meet the unique needs of survivors of torture and their families as they forge new lives in the Boston area. We invite you to join to talk about the rewards and challenges of providing holistic caring for survivors.  Oh yes-and try a few international refreshments!

Space is limited so please register!
Caring Communities participants.
Participants in our January Caring Communities event. 

Can't come in March?  Look out for upcoming Caring Communities events on our website
You can also:
Like us on Facebook     or follow us on, Follow us on Twitter @BCRHHR.
The Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights