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June 9, 2016

Refugee Relief Emphasizes Skills for Assimilation

Update on Army Relief Efforts for Refugees in Europe

The Salvation Army has been assisting refugees across Europe since the current crisis escalated in 2015. General André Cox, the Army’s international leader, noted at the time: “For 150 years The Salvation Army has been welcoming people in God’s name, standing alongside those who struggle to get by and others who are ignored or even rejected by the communities in which they live. As the citizens of Europe welcome thousands of people into their towns and cities, The Salvation Army — through its national programs but also in its local centers — will be waiting with arms open.”

The response has grown from providing for basic needs such as food and shelter to helping refugees assimilate to their new environments. Speaking about the plight of the more than one million refugees to have arrived on Europe’s shores, Major David Cavanagh, general secretary for the Army’s Italy and Greece Command, explains, “There’s a huge gap between [immigrants’] expectations — and the expectations of families they left behind. We’re working extremely hard on cultural integration … The programs we run include language classes, cultural mediation, workshops on sewing, information technology, teaching basic work skills in cooking and working as a waiter, for instance.”

Find an overview of the Army's refugee response efforts at www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/europerefugees

— From report by David Giles,
 IHQ Communications

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