A refugee is a person who flees their home country due to a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion."
Today, there are an estimated 11-12 million refugees in the world. This is a dramatic increase since the mid-1970s when there were less than 3 million refugees worldwide. The end of the Cold War and the end of regimes that kept social order led to the dissolution of countries and changes in politics that led to unbridled persecution and a huge increase in the number of refugees.
Each year the International Services Center (ISC) provides resettlement services to refugees. They may have lived in a refugee camp for the past 5 to 10 years. They may have been separated from their family members. They come to Cleveland to find a home and begin a new life. ISC is there through the entire process of transition to life in America. It has been providing these services for 96 years with competence and compassion!
On World Refugee Day 2012, a benefit was held at Saigon Plaza in Cleveland to gather support for ISC so they can meet the needs of refugees assigned to Cleveland as they help them become productive Americans and add to the vitality of Cleveland.
Karen Wishner, executive director of the International Services Center in Cleveland spoke about the plight of refugees on World Refugee Day. The 2012 motto is 'Refugees have no choice. You do.'