Multicultural News

Burmese American Community Institute joins Ukrainian welcoming support efforts

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Ukrainian families have already started making their way to Indiana, as humanitarian parolees. It’s a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Program, that is in part providing things like resettlement aid and medical support. Local advocacy groups say they are here and ready to help.

The Burmese American Community Institute is again supporting new refugees. Ready to provide integration services to new comers as they try to adapt.

Ukraine and Russia remain in an intense battle as many Ukrainian citizen take up residence in the US, as humanitarian parolees.

“Its a process that’s really hard to integrate into a new culture. Way of life in a new system,” said Lian Thwang Hnin with the Center for Integration and Community Development.

Although coming in much smaller numbers compared to Afghans, the first Ukrainians started arriving in Indiana a few months ago.

“I also received help from people who had more experience before me so its a sense of fulfillment,” Thwang Hnin said.

The Burmese American Community Institute is one of the agencies working to welcome new arrivals while working to expand outreach to find Ukrainians here who are unsure where to get assistance

“We want to make sure our clients have everything that they need so they can include anything from the proper health care doctors appointments, dental appointments and cultural transition,” said Alecia Binhack, Ukrainian humanitarian parolee program director.

Binhack worked with BACI under it’s program supporting Afghans and will be using that training to support new neighbors.

“This has profound implications globally and geopolitically and locally,” said BACI executive director, Elaisa Vahnie.

Vahnie says the work responding to unrest isn’t new. Many in Indy’s robust Burmese community arrived under similar circumstances. So the question for why do they help is simple. It’s a must.

“This isn’t just between Ukraine and Russia. But this is between autocracy and democracy,” said Vahnie.

Burmese leaders say while there is support to Ukrainians and Afghans it’s important to remember there is still unrest in Burma, with people still hoping to find refuge in the United States.