The Story

We began as a makeshift response
to the unmet needs of our refugee neighbors

Project Worthmore (PWM) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of Denver-area refugees by providing cultural mentorship and community supports. Started by Frank and Carolyn Anello in early 2011, PWM began as a makeshift response to the unmet needs of our refugee neighbors. Now as relationships and knowledge of refugee needs have grown, the community response has become an organized effort to serve the vast needs through the heart of our community. 
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Be it teaching use of public transportation, registering children for school, going grocery shopping, and/or teaching English, there was always more that could be done but not always enough people to help do it. Abandoning the needs of this community was not an option, particularly when surrounded by such abundance and resources to help address these problems. Increasing awareness of the existence of our refugee neighbors and their needs is an initial priority. Fundraising, recruiting teams from churches and schools, gathering and distributing donations, setting up apartments for newly arrived refugee families and coordinating cultural mentorship teams all eventually became a part of this organization. As PWM continues its work, it is the Anello’s hope that more people will become an active part of this movement that has improved the lives of all those involved.

What is a Refugee?

According to UNHCR, A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. 
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A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War, ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

Their Story

Ask a refugee from Burma living in Colorado, and they will tell you they are very grateful for the opportunity to live in the USA. Ask the Colorado residents about the 3,000 refugees from Burma, or the 20,000-30,000 refugees total living in Denver, and most will tell you they’ve never heard of them and do not know they exist. Colorado receives approximately 300-500 refugees from Burma each year. Each refugee shares a unique tragedy from where they come from, and yet their stories are very much the same.

Many refugees have been fleeing a brutal regime for decades; living and hiding without food, clean water, shelter, or medicine. Some have lost loved ones needlessly – killed by violence, or killed by preventable illnesses like diarrhea, malaria, or respiratory infections. As they transition into a new life here in Denver, their challenges often remain immense. We know that by allowing their story to become part of our story, together we can write a better future for all.

 

“While every refugee’s story is different and their anguish personal, they all share a common thread of uncommon courage: the courage not only to survive, but to persevere and rebuild their shattered lives.” 

– Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees –

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