Refugee Resettlement Committee
The Old Lyme Refugee Resettlement Committee — a group of volunteers from Christ the King, St. Ann’s, and the First Congregational Church — works to help families who are fleeing dangerous conditions in their home lands by finding them housing, jobs, schools, and support services in Connecticut. The committee acts in partnership with New Haven–based IRIS: Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, who are instrumental in bringing these families to Connecticut.
Since 2016 Old Lyme has welcomed the Kazadi family from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Colon family from Puerto Rico, and the Hamou family from Syria. Last October, the Popal family arrived in Connecticut after fleeing Afghanistan following that country’s fall to the Taliban. The father, Hayatulla Popal, provided support to our armed forces during the war in Afghanistan, and remaining in that country put the entire family at risk.
Since coming to Old Lyme, the family of seven (parents and five children) has been adjusting to Connecticut’s climate (they had never seen snow before!) and learning the ways of a new country. The school-age children are enrolled in Old Lyme schools, learning English, and playing sports, while Hayatulla, the father, has been attending ESL classes and preparing to find a job. Bibi, the mother, also works with ESL instructors and takes care of her family.
The three churches and the Old Lyme Refugee Resettlement Committee encourage residents who have questions or would like to make a donation to this effort, to communicate with any of the church offices via email: FCCOL: firstname.lastname@example.org; Christ the King Church: email@example.com; Saint Ann's Episcopal Church: firstname.lastname@example.org.