Congratulations to ADS safari specialist Sharon Lyon who was recently honored in San Diego, California with the Ambassador Of The Year Award by the Alliance for African Assistance. Sharon was recognized for her significant contributions and dedication over the last 10 years in assisting refugees from East Africa in their resettlement process.
Because of contributions from Sharon and many others, more then 8,000 refugees to date have been successfully resettled in America. Refugee assistance includes preparing host families, securing safe and affordable housing, help with rent and transportation, health screenings, enrolling children in school, English language classes and translation services, and job assistance and training.
Here is an excerpt from Sharon’s speech…
“In 2004 I started a journey and had no idea where it would take me. We started in Kakuma, a refugee camp on the Kenya/Sudan border. 100,000 refugees lived here in Kakuma, waiting for the new life promised by the protection of the United Nations Refugee Status, given them when they fled their countries from genocide and certain death. Rita is only one child but Rita represents all the children and their families that have called Kakuma home for way too long.
Six year after I met Rita, Rita and her family have finally been allowed to start their new life in America. Her baby rock has been replaced with a baby doll. Her despair with hope, her torn rags with proper clothes, her dirt floor with tile, an empty bowl now with food. A smile shows a bright future full of hope. It was indeed a day of celebration for me as my heart wanted to dance and celebrate for the few refugees who, like her, have now been resettled and starting a life full of hope and promises of a certain future in America.”