what we do

Refuge, as a noun, is defined as a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. A secondary definition is “a thing that provides shelter or safety.” 

For City of Refuge, the word is a verb. We are about the action of helping, providing, and sheltering. And it is our honor to provide services such as basic needs programs,  education, and professional development opportunities for those arriving in our community seeking refuge. 

But we also want to give them something that doesn’t have a price yet is full of concrete value. We want to provide relationships and deep friendships for refugees and immigrants to rely on as they navigate their new life of freedom. 

Empowering Through the Path

A Refugee’s Journey

Refugee Impact Story

Ka Taw Dow

Ka Taw Dow was born a refugee. Her family comes from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and are part of the Karen tribe, who have a long history of war with the Burmese government. Many describe this armed coflict as one of the world’s longest civil wars. It was this persecution that caused her parents to seek refuge at the Tham Him Refugee Camp in the Ratchaburi Province of Thailand.

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Refugee Impact Story

Sen Lay And Soe Meh's Family

This is Sen Lay and Soe Meh’s family. They arrived in Columbia about 8 years ago from a refugee camp & were connected to our programs. We have had the privilege of knowing and helping them for many years; Barry’s father even married them in Columbia Square Apartments!

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Refugee Impact Story

Cing Cing Hlamya

Cing Cing Hlamya arrived in Columbia with her family from war-torn Myanmar in 2009. It was winter when they arrived and they had no shoes or coat. With the help of City of Refuge, they found food, jobs, and eventually bought a home!

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Refugee Impact Story

Htamdang Family

This is the Htamdang family, Peter, Hiram, and their three children. They were persecuted and forced from their home by the government, so fled to Malaysia, living in constant fear of being arrested. Fortunately, they were relocated to the US in 2015 and then Columbia in 2018.

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Upcoming Events

See What We Are About

Our schedule of upcoming events is the perfect opportunity to see what City of Refuge does and find out where you fit into this incredible organization.

April 1, 2024
December 14, 2024

Our Sponsors & Partners

Get Ready for our Poem-a-Thon!

from our blog

recent news & updates

15 February

Stories, Smiles & Toys

There are few things better in this world than little-kid giggles. You know the kind. They range from quiet chuckles to full on belly laughs.They’re...
01 February

Hope Restored

I’ve joked with our staff lately about our “Great Transition”. It’s been a whirlwind month of navigating weather, school closings, staff changes (including some new...
18 January

No one wants to be a Refugee

“One refugee without hope is one too many.” These are the words offered to me as I sat in a living room across from Rehema...
28 December

A Nexus for Community

Hear below from Aaron Finkel, a long-time volunteer who launched our City Strings program and has recently taken over coordinating our English Buddy program:  The...
20 December

A Farewell of Sorts

I remember the first gift I made to City of Refuge. It was September 2018, and the organization’s building at the time needed to be...