Boston Center for Refugee Health
&  Human Rights Newsletter
Tired of 
Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Try Giving Tuesday!
a way to give to the causes you care about.

Join our Community of Caring


December 3 2014

click here to register


Stay involved!


Like us on Facebook 

Follow us on Twitter 

Find us on Pinterest 

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.



Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
TopNovember 2014



A new year is just around the corner and we anticipate its arrival with hope and joy as we celebrate the successes of this year and reflect upon all we have to be thankful for. In this newsletter we focus on some of our most recent successes, including our inaugural Fall Fête, the fruitful conclusion of our most recent Job Readiness Workshop, and look at what Giving Tuesday means and the impact your participation can make in the lives of our  clients.


Thank you, as always, for continuing to read our newsletter and for supporting our center. Our team wishes you a happy and healthy holiday season!

9-Week Job Readiness Course Wraps Up With Mock Interview Night

by Leigh Forbush, Career Services Coordinator

Get Ready Work Force!
Our Clients Are Ready to Work!


On November 11th, our 
9-week Job Readiness Workshop series culminated in a Mock Interview Night. Clients came dressed, ready to "interview" for a job of their choice. Joining our six clients were seven volunteers, who gave feedback and advice about important professional skills acquired through the Job Readiness Workshop: resumes, cover letters, networking and of course, interviewing! As one client remarked, "my goal was to be able to build my confidence and understand how to relate to others in the workplace...I feel that I have successfully achieved this". Congratulations all the job readiness workshop graduates and good luck with your upcoming job searches! 



#GivingTuesday - A Perfect Time to Make a Big Difference

by Jennifer Sato & Evelyn Corsini


"Giving Tuesday" is an effort to create a day of giving after Thanksgiving in response to the hype and consumerism surrounding Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This year's "Giving Tuesday" is Tuesday, December 2, 2014. Beginning in 2012 as a partnership between New York's 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation, it has now become a global philanthropic movement. Evelyn Corsini and Jennifer Sato, two refugee patient navigators, reflect:

What does it mean to be "a drop in the bucket"? I have always felt that even small gifts and acts of kindness can have great value. That belief has been the foundation of my career as a social worker. At a recent church service I heard a children's story about how if all of the drops in the bucket get together, they can form enough water to bring a dry garden back to life. That story reinforced my decision that my drop in the bucket approach to life has great value.  - Evelyn Corsini


A brand new backpack and winter clothing just in time!
All smiles after recieving winter clothes and school supplies!

Giving can come in many different forms; it can be time, clothing, and of course, financial donations. Regardless of what has been given, the outcome is undeniable. Your help allows our clients to continue to thrive and to improve their daily lives in ways unimaginable to most. Recently BCRHHR was able to provide an entire family with winter clothing (just in time for that polar vortex!), as well as backpacks for the school-aged children. The family was all smiles as they tried on clothing, some completely foreign to them - gloves, scarves, mittens; "What about my fingers!" the youngest asked me with a sly smile, as if to challenge the utility of the mittens she was trying on. "It's so your fingers don't get cold!" I responded; she gave me another smile, letting me know that she still wasn't so sure but would go ahead and give them a try. "I like the color." She nodded and took them off, stuffing them in her bag. Later, she would explain to her dad that they were mittens and they would keep her fingers warm in the winter.  - Jennifer Sato

It is moments like these that make us truly thankful, both for our wonderful clients and the support we receive from the community. Even the smallest gift or donation makes a huge impact on the lives of our clients - so, this Giving Tuesday, in lieu of the Black Friday rush, we ask you to keep them in your thoughts and consider helping us to continue bringing smiles to the center.

 Click here to make a donation today. #GivingTuesday

Celebrating Courage at the Beehive

by  Edith T. Ablavsky

Kemoh Salia-Bao, Kia Martin, Lin Piwowarczyk and Kate Walsh celebrate courage at the Beehive (pictured left to right).
In October, we celebrated the courage of those who pass through our doors with our Inaugural Fall Fête at the Beehive eatery on Tremont Street. Kate Walsh, President and CEO of Boston Medical Center, kicked off the program with some highlights of the work of the Center.


"We hear about refugees and victims of political and religious strife in the news every day," said Walsh. "It is hard to believe we have many refugees right here in our own community, struggling to find a place to live, learn a new language, or get a job. Thanks to Dr. Lin and her work, we can help these clients. And with the help of people like you, we can do even more."

"We are here to celebrate the courage of our patients, many of whom have endured great suffering due to their race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, political activity or membership in a social group," Dr. Lin, Director of BCRHHR, told the group. "Many were actively trying to improve the lives of those around them. On a dime, life changed-being forced into exile, seeking safety, leaving behind everything known and loved."

Dr. Kemoh Salia-Bao from Sierra Leone provided a living example of the clients who come to the Center.  After being subjected to surveillance, harassment and threats to his family and property, he and his family fled Sierra Leone and eventually landed in Boston with very little hope -- unable to work to support themselves, and in poor physical and mental health as a result of years spent under the stress of constant harassment and fear. BCRHHR and BMC helped Salia-Bao and his family to rebuild their lives, providing counseling, medical attention, transportation assistance, food from the pantry, and clothing from donations to the Center. "I remember the first suit I wore in this country was lovingly given to me by Erica [BCRHHR administrator]," said Salia-Bao. "I am wearing that suit tonight."


By all measures, the evening was a rousing success.  Everyone came out, had fun, learned something new, and in the process raised needed funds for the Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights at BMC!  Thanks to all who attended, to the Friends of Women's Health who co-sponsored the event, and to the many dedicated volunteers.  Special thanks to the Fall Fête planning committee for making this night a success: Pam Adams, Kathryn Bloom, Georgina Castellucci, Stacy Cowan, Amy Holman, Ilana Hurwitz, Kia Martin, Jody Rose, Michelle Shell, Wendy Weiss, and Mariann Youniss. Many thanks to the following donors for their generous contributions:  SoulCycle, Platejoy, Olives & Grace, Blank Label, BeStyled Blow Dry Bar, Wendy Weiss, BMC Dermatology, and the Beehive!


Thank you all for your kindness and support.

The Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights