Our Work began with refugees
Category : Uncategorized
They come from Bhutan and Burma, Chad and Congo, Togo and Thailand, Sri Lanka and Somalia, Nepal and Ethiopia…. some where Americans. Thousands of families – mothers and wives, fathers and sons, infants and aging elders fleeing war, poverty, ethnic violence, human trafficking, and natural disasters, others were reeling from economic collapse and other forms of abuse. If you look closely into their eyes, you could see a glimmer of hope of a better, safer tomorrow.
Many were housed in an area which is notorious for its high crime, drug activity and prostitution, yet minutes from the prestigious Montclair neighborhood, this growing refugee community was one of Denver’s best-kept secrets. Looking for a way to tap into the international community, I connected with Lutheran Family Services.
LFS gave me an opportunity to mentor a Congolese family of 6 housed in an apartment complex with many other refugee families, (which was unknown to me at the time). I could witness first-hand the inadequacy and the break-down of services to one of the most vulnerable populations.
Walking through the alleys strewed with trash and debris, they acknowledged the deplorable conditions in which the refugees were forced to live. Stories shared over a simple cup of tea and biscuits revealed tales of rape and torture, violence and death, hunger and fear, opportunities lost and futures destroyed in their home countries. With some encouragement, they shared their sense of fear and frustration about their current circumstances and the serious gaps in services.
Delays in resources for food for weeks at a time, the obstacles to finding adequate employment, the very real dangers of the neighborhoods in which they were forced to live, the conditions of the apartments often infested with bugs, the acts of violence against immigrants in their neighborhood, even attacks on their children as, they returned from school. They survived the trauma in their home countries, and re-traumatized in their host countries.
Critically assessing their situation compelled my spirit to go a step further in providing better resolutions to their problems. Subsequently, CDDS was created as a direct response to the mitigating challenges displaced people around the world.
Today we affirm our commitment to displaced people around the world community to help provide support, guidance and a pathway to healing and dignity.
E.D. Allen, President/CEO