10,000,000 to 1? Long odds? For or against? No, not odds at all, but rather, attitude. At any point in time, in recent years, there are about 10 million refugees in the world. The problem is staggering, but not impossible to fix, taking one step at a time. That one step is the resettlement of one family. Helping a single family move out of a refugee camp and into a productive life makes the world a slightly better place.
If you can help a single family, and I can help a single family, and someone across town can help a single family, and someone in the next state can help a single family, suddenly a dozen or more people have moved out of a bad situation into a life-altering existence.
Imagine for a moment that you are a refugee. You have lived in the same community your entire life. It’s roughly the same place your family has lived for generations. Suddenly, a military dictator rises up and everything changes. You find yourself part of an ethnic group that is considered an undesirable minority. You are the target of extermination. First, you think you’ll get through it. You’ll survive. Bad things happen to other people. Then the police raid your home and take many of your possessions. Your children are assaulted. You are beaten. One of your neighbors was killed. What to do? You flee!
Somehow, you and your family manage to escape with your lives to a neighboring country. The natives take you in, but they don’t really want you. There’s a camp. At least it’s a place to stay. It’s not home, but you don’t feel an immediate threat on your life. There’s no way to earn a living. It’s tough to get regular meals. It’s hard to stay dry in the rain. It’s miserable, and all you want to do is go back home, but you’re not welcome there. So you stay in the camp to remain alive and you keep the hope that someday you will go home.
Years go by. Your survival instincts are fine-tuned. Your children hardly remember life outside the camp. You realize they have no future. You still long for home, but the hope you had has faded. Now you just want a chance at a “normal” life. Isn’t there a way to escape the daily anguish without putting your life and those you love at greater risk? Then, it happens. You are given a chance to leave the camp for another country, a country that will take you in, welcome you, and help you start over.
You are scared, but you want to provide for your family. You want them to have a chance. You know the rest of your life may be difficult, but at least it’s moving out of the stagnant situation you’ve been in. At least, for the first time in a long time, there is a glimmer of hope.
At long last you get on an airplane bound for the United States. You’ve heard good things, and you’ve heard bad things. You’ve heard of prosperity, and you’ve heard of neglect. You’re excited, but you are headed into another unknown. What will your new life hold for you? Whom will you meet? How will you communicate when you don’t know English? At least you understand life in a refugee camp. But here, now, landing in the U.S. you know nothing...
Now you, as the reader of this book, have the privilege to step out of the role of the refugee. That’s not your life. But did you get a brief glimpse of what the refugee was feeling? What would you want if you were in that situation? What would you need? If you were the one landing in the U.S. with your family, wouldn’t you enjoy being met by someone offering you help, offering you direction, offering you love? Absolutely.
This book, 10 Million To 1, is about that help, direction, and love. It is a how-to guide. How you, who have likely grown up in the comfort of America, can welcome a refugee family and get them started on the path to a new and prosperous life as contributing members of our society. This book gives you the steps from meeting them at the airport, to getting them housing, to getting them jobs. And, when all goes well, you may have the heartwarming opportunity to witness their choice, their process and progress, toward citizenship in our great nation. Success! Oh, yes, the world is a better place.
Repeat as needed.