Friends, yesterday we said our farewells to a valued friend in case manager Abdirizak Ali. Needless to say, Abdirizak’s departure is a huge loss for all of us in Refugee Services. Since he started working with MCC in April of 2006, Abdirizak has brought so many skills to his work with us and with refugee families – his sense of humor, his energy, his cultural insights, his determined advocacy within oppressive systems, his problem-solving “magic” in the community, his ability to charm the uncharm-able, his commitment to his co-workers, his pride in the work of MCC, and most of all, his ENORMOUS heart and devotion to making life better for those he has worked with as case manager. In his almost 9 years in roles as Resettlement Case Aide, Refugee Supportive Housing Network Case Manager, and Refugee Program Specialist: Resettlement, he has touched the lives of literally thousands people from so many corners of the earth, and he has won his place in the hearts of those of us who have had the privilege to call him a colleague. Abdirizak was personally the case manager to 1100 people who were resettled into Minneapolis.
If you have known Abdirizak for more than 10 minutes, you’ve probably heard him tell a story or two about his two deepest passions: his family and his homeland of Somalia. For many years, it has been Abdirizak’s dream to return to Africa and have the opportunity to work in service with refugees on that side of the process. Abdirizak has decided that now is the time for this change, and plans to return to Africa this fall, taking some of his young children with him, so they too can connect with their family and roots there. While we are full of emotion in his leaving, it is clear this is a great opportunity for him, and is where his heart has been leading him for a long time. No matter where he goes and what he does, we know his many attributes will serve him well.
Recent executive orders blocking and reducing refugee arrivals have significantly impacted our funding. We continue to welcome refugees and are committed to serving those who have already arrived with employment services, connection to health care and social services, and assistance with obtaining permanent residency and US citizenship. Please donate today to keep our services strong.
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The executive orders blocking refugee admissions and the subsequent legal challenges to those orders have continued to make news headlines and create uncertainty about refugee resettlement in the US. For updates on the situation, we recommend that you follow our national partners Church World Service and Episcopal Migration Ministries on Facebook.
From October 2016 through September 2017, we welcomed 316 refugees. We welcomed 22 new arrivals in February and are hoping to welcome 25 individuals in March.