The Asylee Women Enterprise (A.W.E.) offers both a residence and support program for (predominantly) Rwanda and Afghan women seeking asylum in the United States. They (the women seeking asylum) are often well-educated and are folks for whom the offerings of training leading to employment (as nursing aides) would squander the education they have obtained and would not make the highest and best use of their education and experience.
Unless and until asylum status is granted, those seeking it are barred from employment; and AWE provides both residential support as well as a modest stipend as they await resolution of their application. It is both the residential and stipend components that set AWE apart.
The legal aspects of the asylum process are addressed by an Immigration Clinic utilizing the services of law students (under faculty supervision) at the University of Baltimore School of Law and what will soon be expertise in the country’s(ies’) political, social and traditional policies with respect to women; where the testimony the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem can provide will be factual and will not reflective of any possible direct or implied criticism of the policies of the state where the asylees hail from. The factual presentations will insure that the Immigration Judge can make a fully-informed decision with respect to why the applicant(s) seek asylum on a well-founded fear for their safety and that of their minor children. The initial contacts with AWE demonstrate that the Order of Saint Lazarus’ mission of defending the helpless is more than met by the support we discussed for AWE.
AWE also refers several pro bono legal services including University of Baltimore Immigration Clinic, University of Maryland Immigration Clinic, Esperanza Center, and World Relief.