Contact Us

The Chicago Welcomes You project is a grant funded initiative to provide well researched and designed orientation materials to refugees and those who serve them. The First Steps kit is currently available in an English/Sgaw Karen version. It is our goal to provide translations in many more languages for more people groups. Check the updates for the latest!

Burmese (Karen) Project Updates:


We got some press...

Very exciting news -- we are featured this month on the Design Altruism Project's Blog. Hear more about our story and how CWY has come about.



It's been a while since we've updated!
Things have been busy. Here are some highlights on what CWY has been up to:

Distributing . . .

We are thrilled to announce that in just a few short months we have distributed copies in 26 states (see map) and Canada! There has also been a trend of bulk ordering. We have had some recent large orders from groups who will be distributing all over the US, as well as large orders for particular areas... we hope this idea continues to catch on!

Making Presentations...

click to enlarge

We have been spreading the word about the work, meeting with people from the resettlement community locally and presenting via teleconference to various groups, including the Resettlement Committee of the Refugee Council USA - an organization that represents all of the national resettlement agencies. In July we attended and presented at an international conference hosted by Exodus World Service, where we had the opportunity to collaborate and present the project to a diverse group of church-based refugee ministries (see pictures below)! Networking is paying off and many new opportunities are on the horizon!

Shipping Party!

We hosted our first volunteer shipping + packing party! It was a huge success, we packaged up and sent out 150 kits. The group got everything finished in just a couple of hours! We want to send a big THANK YOU to all who attended... Jim! Amanda! Koji! Jill! Jackie! Leziga! Chuki! Edison! Abraham! Mike! It was very productive and lots of fun. Many thanks.



Two major updates:

1. We have created an order page to distribute materials. Click on the "Order" link on the left to order a copy of the First Steps kit or Ah Mu Weaves a Story.

2. We are presenting the results of the Chicago Welcomes You Project at the 2009 SCORR ARHC RCUSA Conference & Symposium today in New Orleans (! Our hope is to communicate how design can aid in the resettlement process and to spread the word about the Project. Keep us in your prayers!



BIG NEWS ... we have 3 of the 4 pieces DONE!! Click the The Project tab on the left for more details about the finalized pieces. They will be ready for distribution by May 1st.

Also, we're planning to do a second print run of the narrative so that we can share it with the general public. Many people have requested copies to share with friends, children, and students in their lives. The proceeds from the second printing will be used to fund further translations of the informational book and ring cards. Check back for more details, or drop us an email in the "Contact Us" section and we'll set one (or more) aside for you!


We are going national! We have shifted our focus to writing and designing in Sgaw Karen and English for Burmese Karen across the country in order to help the most people we can. We are excited about national exposure because, while the materials will be designed with this people group in mind, the vast majority of the information will be useful to all refugees. It is our hope that national exposure will help future distributions for other people groups.



We'd like to welcome Sara Gilliam to the project! She will be authoring the Storybook. Sara (Pipher) Gilliam has been passionate about refugee issues since she was 19 and first visited a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. A 10-year veteran of nonprofit communications, she was a Fulbright Fellow in Thailand and has also spent time as a student and freelance writer in India, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction writing from George Mason University and currently works as a writer at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.



The Site is Launched! Thanks for visiting.
We are assessing printer quotes and beginning to create prototypes.
Check back for updates.


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