The Influx Impact

September Thought Leader Kevin Mulamba

I’m Kevin Mulamba and I work at New American Pathways as a Resettlement Case Specialist. I’m from Congo (DRC) but was born and raised in Burundi. I wanted to work at New AP because I’m a refugee myself. I know how hard it can be to move to a country where you don’t speak the language and the culture feels unfamiliar to you. That’s why my job is so important to me.

As a Resettlement Case Specialist I assist newly arrived refugees in a variety of ways. My job can include so many different things depending on how many families we are serving and what they’re needs are. I often welcome refugees at the airport, make sure they have a ready-to-eat meal when they arrive at their new home, and secure a cell phone for adults. I also provide a housing orientation to the families after they get settled in their new homes and assist them with accessing benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, and cash cards. I help the families enroll in an ESL program, apply for social security, and register kids for school.

I started at New AP earlier this year and we have stayed incredibly busy resettling record numbers of refugees. We’re on track to resettle more than 600 refugees this year! It’s often been so busy that I often take clients to medical appointments early in the morning and do airport pick-ups for newly arrived refugees late at night. It’s so busy, the regular 9-5 hours don’t apply to our department! But I’m grateful for the experience because it’s helped me to improve my multi-tasking skills.

With the massive influx of refugees we’ve had to resettle clients in Jonesboro in Clayton County. We had never resettled anyone there before so there were a lot of unknowns that made it more difficult. For example, it was a real challenge to get kids enrolled in school because we had no connections with any of the local schools or with the International Welcome center in Clayton County. We spent some time in the area and made more connections so we’d be better able to assist families as they resettled there. There is also no public transportation in Jonesboro which proved to be another hurdle. We partnered with our Advancement Department to start a bike donation drive so the refugees we’ve resettled there would have access to some type of transportation.

In my current role I interact with refugee families constantly and they have each made their mark on me in different ways. I love and appreciate the experience that I share with them on a daily basis. But the best part of my job is when the programs end and I meet the client somewhere in the community. It’s the best feeling to see them being happy and independent!