Welcome Ramin Raheel who joined Catholic Charities of Oregon (CCO), September 13, as our Refugee Services Case Manager I!
Ramin is currently working with our Refugee Services team in supporting refugee resettlement. Although this position has largely focused on the resettlement of Afghan families, Ramin will also be working with SIVs and other refugees coming into Oregon.
In the current climate, Ramin’s position of working closely with Afghans resettling in Oregon is new. With regulations and guidelines constantly changing at the state and federal level, it’s sometimes hard to know what support he can provide. Ramin and his team describe the work as building and sailing the ship all at the same time. Ramin shared, “[The work] it comes with challenges but because of the team environment we have, it feels less stressful. We always feel like we could be doing more, but that’s human nature. We always want to do more”.
Ramin has been connected with Catholic Charities since he moved to the United States with his family 20 years ago. “They were the ones that helped us get situated. I have fond memories of Catholic Charities; how helpful they were at a time when we were very vulnerable as refugees coming to a strange land. That always stayed with me wherever I went”.
Over the past 20 years Ramin has lived mostly in Oregon. He went to high school in Beaverton and from there did a series of odd jobs. He was a language instructor in California and was deployed to Afghanistan for a time before returning to his hometown of Portland. He attended school at Portland State University and even underwent some military training until the recent events of Taliban takeover in Afghanistan.
“The crisis that unfolded, I felt [that] out of the humanity that we all have [and] watching the events take place… I wanted to do something. I wanted to find ways to help, as an American and as someone with heritage from Afghanistan”.
Ramin saw that Catholic Charities was searching for individuals from Afghanistan living in Portland to help support CCO’s refugee resettlement efforts. He found the case manager position online, applied, and interviewed with Director of Refugee Services, Matthew Westerbeck, and Refugee Services Program Manager, Claudia Munoz. “One of the things that clicked [for me] was the passion that we [all] have for refugees and helping people in need. That’s what attracted me to this position”.
When Ramin isn’t at work he can be found at the gym playing basketball with his friends or reading the news. Ramin has an active social life and loves to keep up with current events. With the mental anguish that can often come with constantly reading the news, recently Ramin has adjusted his news intake and is shifting that focus to his work with Catholic Charities.
“I feel a lot of reward coming [from] helping refugees get settled. It’s immediate. You’re helping someone and you see the affects right away. That’s [what] keeps me going, [and what] wakes me up in the morning [to] come here and start the workday”.
Thank you, Ramin! We are inspired by your journey and heart for this work and are beyond grateful to welcome you to the Catholic Charities team.
To learn more about Catholic Charities of Oregon’s Refugee Services: https://www.catholiccharitiesoregon.org/services/refugee-services/