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Lancaster celebrates grand opening of Refugee Center and Community School

10/07/2015 Lancaster Online By Heather Stauffer

The Refugee Center and Community School at Reynolds Middle School is a partnership of many organizations, so lots of people spoke at its grand opening Wednesday.

But the loudest laughter and applause went to Kamal Kafley, who was a refugee from Bhutan when he and his family arrived in Lancaster County in 2009.

Kafley praised Lancaster, saying he has “never heard anything against refugees in this community.” Then he told that crowd that he has gotten many calls from other Bhutanese refugees who need help settling into life here.

Now, he joked, “I can tell them, ‘Go stand in front of the door!’”

Kafley concluded on a serious note, saying he expects the center, which will help refugee families with their educational, health, social and emotional needs, will prove a valuable aid to all the local refugee groups.

Ravi Ravindran, president of Rotary International, also praised the project, calling it a model for other communities across the nation.

“The last few months, I’ve been getting letters from Europe saying ‘What are you doing for refugees?’” he said. “Now I have a model, a tangible plan to tell them, ‘This is what you do.’”

The center is the result of a coalition of nonprofit organizations and schools coordinating resources, led by Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13.

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