Miranda Ducey is project coordinator at The Fusion Project, which is housed at the Asian Community and Cultural Center and funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. She can be reached at 402-477-3446 or at Miranda@lincolnasiancenter.org.
How do you help refugees?
The Fusion Project helps refugees by providing culturally and linguistically appropriate referrals and services from members of their own community. Our mission is to collaborate to empower new American populations to achieve success and self-sufficiency and to promote equitable access to services, which we strive to do on a daily basis. Each of our four teams has a coordinator who works within their own community, be it the African, Asian, Eastern European or Middle Eastern team. We refer clients to other collaborators or agencies to receive direct services. We also hold educational events and publish quarterly newsletters (in culturally specific languages) to educate refugees on topics where more information is needed. To ease acculturation, we also have cultural guidebooks, which are also published in several languages. More and more, we are trying to help older and newer refugee communities learn from each other and see how everyone contributes to learning and adapting to a new place. We also try to educate the mainstream community of Lincoln on the refugee communities here and what being a refugee is, common resettlement issues and overall outreach by providing presentations, panels and responding to community questions or needs for interpretation and translation.
What is the most common question you get from refugees? (And how do you answer it?)
I don’t think we honestly receive specific questions, but rather we get tough situations where services haven’t provided enough help or families have arrived without assistance, as secondary migrants, slipping through the network of assistance organizations available. These situations don’t happen much, but they can be heartbreaking and connected to difficult personal situations or other greater issues.
What is the most difficult part of your work?
I personally think working at a non-profit and trying to help solve problems in a day can be disheartening and overwhelming, but knowing we’ve helped even one person, that’s what redeems our work.
What does the wider community of Lincoln need to know about refugees?
I think simply knowing how many refugees are in the community and how diverse Lincoln is is what the wider community needs to be aware of.
What does the refugee community need to know about Lincoln?
Lincoln is a welcoming place, and there are great networks in place to help when problems arise. Refugees are not alone and can be helped in many ways and at many places.
If you could offer refugees new to Lincoln only one piece of advice, what would it be?
To have patience but be motivated to try new things. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and changing or adapting to a new life takes time. But there are people in Lincoln who want to help. Seek those individuals who help others and see what transpires.