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Southern Kentucky Group Helping Refugees Sees Increased Donations, but Loss of Personnel

Lisa Autry

A refugee resettlement agency in Bowling Green is reporting an uptick in donations.

The International Center of Kentucky has received more than $20,000 in donations since February.


Executive Director Albert Mbanfu said that’s an unprecedented level of giving. He said when President Trump issued a travel ban in January, resettlement agencies saw a drop in revenue.


“So we had to go out to the community to seek support. Here at the international center we went out and met with groups, churches, etc. They were so sympathetic,” Mbanfu said.



Mbanfu said some refugee resettlement agencies have been forced to close because of the reduction in revenue and resources. The Bowling Green-based International Center is requesting 350 refugees for the next fiscal year---that’s 90 fewer than what was sought for the current fiscal year. Mbanfu said his group is trying to be realistic about how many refugees they’ll be able to resettle.


The International Center has had to downsize because of fewer refugees entering the country. Less refugees means less work for refugee resettlement organizations--and a reduction in resources for those workers.


Mbanfu wouldn’t say exactly how many employees his group has let go, but he said many resettlement agencies have had to make some tough choices.


“If you follow refugee resettlement around the United States, organizations are shutting down their doors,” Mbanfu said.


Mbanfu is worried the reduction in resources means resettlement agencies will have a difficult time handling any future spike in refugees entering the country.


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