Press Contact: Jon Pattee
WASHINGTON, DC Dec. 3, 2012 – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) has received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Community Service from the Checago Bright Foundation, Inc.
“We are honored to receive this award from the Checago Bright Foundation, and extremely grateful for the amazing work of the organization and its founder. Checago Bright-Sawo is a refugee entrepreneur who is giving back to others in so many ways,” said Linda Hartke, President and CEO of LIRS, the national organization established by Lutheran churches in the United States to serve migrants and uprooted people.
“The foundation is presenting this award to LIRS for its dedicated service to the community by helping refugees, immigrants, and asylees resettle with their families and secure a second chance to live a normal life again, without fear of the persecution they suffered in their home countries,” said the foundation’s founder and CEO, Checago Bright-Sawo.
The Checago Bright Foundation, Inc. was founded to address issues of basic life necessities in Liberia, such as undertaking clean water, sanitation, and education initiatives to empower the underprivileged through capacity-building and community development. The foundation (www.checagobrightfund.org) serves Liberians in poorer communities by building and renovating latrines and hand pumps, providing scholarships, and participating in community projects in rural areas and the capital city of Monrovia.
“As a former refugee from Liberia, I volunteered for eight years with LIRS in North Carolina by assisting new refugees arriving in the United States,” said Bright-Sawo. “I then relocated to Washington, D.C., where I’ve helped LIRS advocate for refugees worldwide by heading refugee delegations for the past three years on World Refugee Day, and by urging Congress and the White House to provide greater protection of refugees overseas and enhance services to refugees already in the United States.
The award was presented at the foundation’s Second Annual Gala on Saturday, December 1, 2012, which took place at the Kahler Hall Ballroom at 5440 Old Tucker Row in Columbia, MD.
CNN producer and writer Brenda Bush-Weeks was the guest speaker at this year’s gala, which aimed to raise awareness of the deplorable conditions of poorer communities in Liberia; empower the underprivileged through capacity-building and community development; and boost the foundation’s work addressing the basic life necessities of Liberians. The foundation’s goal for this year’s gala was to raise $70,000 for constructing five toilet facilities and five hand pumps in Monrovia and rural Liberia.
“Each year the money we raise goes directly to funding our projects, and this year, we anticipate building several modern latrine facilities and hand pumps for safe drinking water, and providing scholarships and educational materials to the following communities in Liberia: Jacobs Town Community, Paynesville; ICA-Camp, Sinkor, Monrovia; and Bomi County, Dorleyla Town, Swen Mecca District,” said Bright-Sawo.
LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. Learn more www.lirs.org/.
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