Radiant Hands began working with the four refugee resettlement agencies in Hillsborough & Pinellas counties in October 2015. Since 2015, we have served almost 300 refugee families from a variety of countries (Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Iran, etc).
When a resettlement agency first notifies us of a new arrival and provides us with a picture ID, country of origin, and basic family information, we then provide each family with a hot meal from the local halal restaurant, a welcome basket, and a cell phone with free service for two months. We then complete an intake on each family and, after identifying the needs of the clients, we procure the necessary items from donations from the local Muslim community as well as from other sources.
Our first objective is to fulfill as many basic needs that the clients may have such as furniture, household goods and clothing to offset the amount of money that has to be spent from their government allotment. Thereafter, we work on a referral system to help the clients satisfy other needs such as: medical, dental, government application assistance, legal issues, ESL, jobs and job training. On an as-needed basis, we provide financial assistance for rent, utilities, daycare, job training, and transportation.
Another objective is to get the families involved in the Muslim community. We partner our volunteers with families of the same ethnicity, and they, in turn, introduce the families to the larger Muslim community. We provide a Saturday school for English and Math Tutoring in The Muslim Connection and we also financially assist the children’s transportation to the Islamic weekend school. In addition, we also have monthly food giveaways.
Radiant Hands also works on helping refugees become socially integrated through training, as well as assisting with business start up support, skill building, and other employment services.
Now our main goal is to help the families become self-sufficient within the first year of their resettlement in the Tampa Bay area.
For more information about Radiant Hands refugee services, please email us at Tampa@radianthands.org.