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Nonprofits help immigrants and refugees who settle in the U.S. in many ways. They encourage naturalized newcomers to become citizens, for example, and advocate for more humane detention conditions.
We are scholars who research why people give their money to, and volunteer for, what they believe to be good causes, including giving out of grief. We became interested in what happens when refugees themselves start their own nonprofits.
Organizations - Projects - Founders - Groups - Efforts
The organizations we studied began as personal projects of the founders. Most of these groups support educational efforts in the childhood villages of the Sudanese exiles known as Lost Boys in what now is South Sudan. As the political climate around immigration and refugees intensifies, we find that these groups are beginning to play new roles as platforms that highlight the contributions refugees are making to their local communities here in the U.S.
The Lost Boys of Sudan were traumatically separated from their families as children during the country’s second civil war which started in the late 1980s and went until 2005. They lived in refugee camps in neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya for a decade.
Boys - US - Program - US - Government
In 2000, some 3,800 Lost Boys were resettled in the U.S. through a program implemented by the U.S. government and United Nations Human Rights Commission. Lost Boys were resettled in dozens of U.S. cities, including Seattle and Boston, as well as in cities in upstate New York like Syracuse and Rochester.
Many of these resettled refugees are now adult U.S. citizens who have returned to visit to their homeland in South Sudan. Their experiences on these trips sparked an interest in starting several small international nonprofits.
Example - Maroundit - Mathon - Noi - Cousins
For example, Sebastian Maroundit and Mathon Noi, two cousins who fled Sudan as children and now live in upstate New York, founded the nonprofit Building Minds in South Sudan.
Both were less than 10 years old when war...
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