Many People Help Refugees

Former chief of the Bureau of Refugee Services Wayne Johnson talks about Iowans who helped refugees who came to Iowa from Southeast Asia in 1979.


Well, I mean, I can't speak for any other program. I've never been involved in them. But this was—and I think continues to be—a successful program because of the efforts of many, many people that aren't necessarily directly connected to the refugee program. ESL teachers—now are they directly connected to the refugee program? Of course not. Do they have refugees in their classes? Yes, they do. Who is a refugee going to go to many times when they have a question, when they have a problem? Well, they're probably going to go to an ESL teacher or to a church Sunday school teacher or to someone they work with on the assembly line—or whatever—because those are the people that they are the closest to every day. And so what you get is people who aren't—this is not maybe the right way to say it—but people who haven't signed on to do the work. They do the work.

A Promise Called Iowa

Iowa PBS


What is your Iowa pathway? Start your investigation by selecting a topic from the list above.

Media Artifacts

Navigation Tip:
Before digging in, check out how the page is organized. What are the main navigation buttons? What stays the same on every page?