Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Inc. is the refugee resettlement office in the state of Kentucky for two national church-based programs: The Episcopal Migration Ministries and Church World Service. Kentucky Refugee Ministries is authorized by the U.S. Dept. of State to assist refugees who have been legally admitted to the United States, as victims of warfare or other forms of persecution because of their religious or political beliefs.
Our program began in 1990 as an outreach of the Presbyterian denomination, shortly after the location of the Presbyterian Church (USA) headquarters in Louisville. It then expanded to include all of the Protestant denominations which make up the National Council of Churches, and then in 1994, added affiliation with the Episcopal Migration Ministries, the resettlement program of the Episcopal Church.
Kentucky Refugee Ministries now employs 30 people, who work both full and part time to serve refugees. Our staff includes caseworkers, job developers, and interpreters. Refugees themselves have been hired on our program staff and serve on our Board of Directors. Our staff speaks English, Spanish, Bosnian, French, Somali, and German and also works closely with contract interpreters who speak other languages native to the refugees we serve. Our main office and ESL school are both located at 969B Cherokee Rd. in Louisville. We also have a suboffice in Lexington.
Refugees come to this country as victims of trauma, as people who have lost their homes and families because of war, as people hoping for peace and freedom as they begin life anew. Our program provides them with apartments and furnishing, helps enroll children in school, gets families to medical treatment, and secures employment for family members who are able to go to work. Refugees come from very diverse educational and skill backgrounds, and we attempt to place the refugee in the best jobs available, given the client's language ability, background, training and experience. Long term assistance include job upgrades, assistance with certain immigration processes and classes and assistance preparing individuals to become naturalized American citizens.
Kentucky Refugee Ministries benefits from the help of many volunteers from service and educational institutions in the Louisville community. We are a church-based program, and we initially work to link refugees with church congregations who will sponsor them.
Since we began our work in 1990, we have placed over 4500 refugees in various Kentucky communities. These individuals and families represent 29 different nationalities and ethnic groups including Liberian, Colombian, Vietnamese, Haitian, Cuban, Iraqi, Somali, Kurdish, Bosnian, Kosovar, Russian, Ethiopian, Romanian, Sudanese, Benadir, Barawan, Togolese, Congolese, Afghani, Iranian, Ukrainian and Rwandan.