POWIR: Partners Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees

News October 7, 2021


 “Let us open our heart to refugees; let us make their sorrows and their joys our own; let us learn courageous resilience from them!” (Pope Francis)

On October 2, the Collaborative heard an excellent presentation on POWIR (Partners Organized to Welcome Immigrants and Refugees), by Marjean Perhot, Director of Immigration and Refugees at Catholic Charities, who shared with us the following:

  • 79.5 million people worldwide are in need of protection: 1 person is forcibly displaced every three seconds
  • Threats to a safe home include war, persecution, poverty, and climate change
  • Two-thirds of all refugees are from five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar.
  • The U.S Council of Catholic Bishops launched POWIR to develop a base of support, mentorship, and welcome for newcomers- that is, to live out social justice. POWIR is overseen and supported through Diocesan Catholic Charities offices.
  • Southeastern Mass POWIR is already helping multiple families to resettle in the area. The refugee list is long and growing due to recent events in Afghanistan.
  • A very special guest at the October 2 presentation was Deeqo Aaden, a native of Somalia who arrived in the U.S. from Egypt in late July with her eight-year-old son Masoud and has resettled in Plymouth with the assistance of Steve’s POWIR team. She spoke of the hope she now has for her and her son. She lives with the Songa family originally from the Congo has also resettled recently from Uganda, who is being supported through St. Kateri’s Pantry, the diaper ministry, and PCC Social Justice ministry.  And, our newest neighbors include Layth, an Iraqi interpreter who worked with U.S. forces for many years, his wife Zainab, and their two children.

Fr. Joe and our Collaborative’s Social Justice Ministry has committed to support the effort of the Southeastern POWIR effort, through PCC POWIR. There are so many ways to help: fundraising, transportation, housing needs, educational support, financial donations, and more. If you can lend a hand, please contact Patty Kean, [email protected].  Watch for more information, updates, and opportunities to assist!

Deeqo Jackie Jeanne
Deeqo Aaden (right) with Social Justice Ministry members Jackie Cordova and Jeanne Barreta