Refugees on South Marshall Street

People from our city and far away are coming to the little world of South Marshall Street in search of safe haven, a new home, and a fresh start.

A majority of the refugees on S. Marshall St. are Karen, a tribe banished by the government from the northern hills of Burma. Some of the refugees are also from neighboring Nepal. Currently about 500 refugees live in the Hartford area; many of them live on S. Marshall St. in the large apartment complex at the south end of S. Marshall St.

The Karen and Nepali refugees are resettled here by Catholic Charities under a United Nations program. Currently 180 refugee children attend schools in our neighborhood. Over 65 % of the adults obtain jobs within 4 months –managers tend to seek them out because of their reputation for excellent work habits.

Immanuel hosted “Community Conversations,” a day-long event in 2013 encouraging discussion between refugees and the receiving community about the challenges and opportunities of living in our neighborhood.

In April 2014, Immanuel received a $14,000 grant to address the low literacy challenges of most of the adult refugees. Eight young refugee women received two months of intensive literacy training and now receive a stipend for teaching English to their refugee community. Volunteers from Immanuel assist these women in these English classes. Our goal is to enhance the literacy of the refugees in our neighborhood.

For more information or to volunteer to work with the refugees, contact Immanuel member, Nancy Rion.