Posted by: Olga Kharif on September 13, 2005
Yesterday, I went to a special refugee center in Portland, Ore., where local agencies and volunteers help evacuees from New Orleans start a new life in Portland. About 250 evacuees have arrived into Portland over the weekend, and they need help with everything from finding housing to searching for a job.
And I’ve been really impressed with the help that chipmaker Intel, which has plants and research centers near Portland, has provided.
The company has set up a computer lab, equipped with 25 PCs with Wi-Fi connections, in an empty classroom of the Washington-Monroe High School where the refugee center is located. People can use the lab to apply for jobs online, to compile their resumes or simply to write e-mails. They can also make free long-distance calls from that room.
For people who have nothing -- most have brought with them only a handful of personal belongings, some have no I.D.s -- that's huge help.
Most of these people still feel lost and are in shock. They have no phones to contact their loved ones. Many of them have had to travel on a bus to come here for four days, during which time they had no way to get in touch with their relatives and friends. So this small service makes a huge difference.
As far as I could see, Intel was the only company helping local agencies take care of the refugees. Way to go, Intel.