Tag Archives: IRC

A Common Language


I had a fantasy when I began volunteering for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Charlottesville. I would help newly arrived refugees document their identities, tell their stories and illustrate them with family photographs brought from their homelands. We would talk, become friends and I would save their stories. Naively, I didn’t understand that many arriving refugees spoke little or no English. Those who did land with language skills were eager to go to work as soon as possible. Getting acquainted and discussing their pasts was not their top priority. I signed up to assist the teacher … Continue reading A Common Language