Refugees in the Panhandle learning English to succeed - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Refugees in the Panhandle learning English to succeed

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The Panhandle is attracting a lot of new people...including refugees.

Fabian Talamante, Area Director of the Refugee Services of Texas, says the cost of living attracts a lot of different people here and so that's basically what has attracted refugees that have come from other states as well.

Refugee Services of Texas has dedicated themselves to helping refugees adjust to living in the Panhandle. 

Talamante says, "We help refugees come and re locate with their families and also to help them integrate into the community and to become self sufficient through different programs that we have."

And one of those programs is English as a Second Language.

Talamante said "To succeed and thrive you have to learn English." 

And it's even important for those who get into bad situations. But our community has accommodated for those who don't speak English. 

City of Amarillo Manager of ENP, Judith-Weshinskey-Price says, "We recognize that a caller doesn't speak English we call the translation service and add them to the call so that they can help us understand." 

The problem with this is adding a translation service can slow down the call.

Weshinskey-Price also says each question and answer need to be translated, which can time some extra time. 

And with the wide range of languages in Amarillo, it could take even more time.

"We get calls from people who speak Spanish, Viennese, Somali, even European languages like French." Said Weshinskey-Price 

There's also the issue of understanding public safety. 

Weshinskey-Price says, "When people call 9-1-1, when they are from a different country, sometimes they have different experiences with public safety or learn different things about public safety."

Which is something that can take time to learn...but learning English could be the first part of succeeding in the Panhandle.

And it helps that Amarillo is very welcoming to refugees.

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