Taking Action Foundation hosts special Christmas celebration for Senior Refugees.
The holiday season is a time for celebration with family, friends and the community. However, this time of the year can be particularly painful for refugees who are thousand of miles away from home, and struggle to adapt to new (and oftentimes strange) customs. The season can be especially challenging for elderly refugees who don’t speak English, can’t work and feel isolated. Their typical days can be extremely monotonous, as one senior expressed: “I wake up, eat breakfast and then wait for the sun to set so that I can go back to sleep.”
On December 10, 2016, Taking Action Foundation (TAF) took the initiative to bring the holidays’ joy to a dozen seniors from Burundi in the Phoenix area. Four founding members of TAF organized the very first Christmas event exclusively dedicated to senior refugees. Thanks to several generous donors, TAF collected monetary contributions, as well as numerous essential such as toiletries and cleaning supplies.
TAF members putting together gift baskets.
All the event organizers also contributed financially by purchasing all the food and drinks, as well as transporting the seniors to the venue in their own vehicles. The donations received went towards getting additional supplies for the seniors’gift baskets*.
Additionally, one TAF co-founder graciously opened her home in Gilbert for the evening. The seniors were treated to a dinner consisting of exclusively Burundian dishes. With traditional music playing in the background, the seniors were given the opportunity to freely reminisce about their homeland. After the speeches, “imiziki y’akaranga” (cultural music) brought all the participants to the dance floor with hands clapping and feet stomping.
Joseph, one of the senior in attendance, happily stated that the evening had added “5 years to my life.”
“This event was very close to my heart,” said Emmanuella Nibigira, TAF co-founder. “Being a refugee at some point myself, I can understand how isolated and even lost one can feel in a foreign land. This was one way for us to let the seniors know that we truly care about them and that we have not forgotten them. So when Joseph said that the evening added 5 years to his life, I thought to myself “mission accomplished!” ”
TAF would sincerely like to thank all the donors who contributed into making this event exceptional for Burundian seniors.
*The remaining funds donated will go towards future TAF events.