Philadelphia

PPR Bhutanese elders and the mural they created in 2014 representing their journey from Bhutan to the United States
  • In the Philadelphia region, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2012) and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (2010), the foreign-born population has reached nearly 575,000, an increase of 39% since the year 2000. 
  • Incoming immigrants from Asia have steadily increased from 30,000 in 1980 to just over 70,000 today. 
  • According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Pennsylvania became home to 2,166 Bhutanese & 255 Burmese refugees in 2012.
  • Philadelphia specifically has historically been a vital immigration portal to the U.S. and has been noted as a re-emerging gateway for newcomers entering the country. 
  • The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians (WCNP, 2014) notes in their most recent report that for immigrants who have the ability to choose a place of refuge, they choose Philadelphia for three main reasons - education, existing familial and social networks and employment. 
In response to the increasing number of foreign born and refugee residents of the Philadelphia metro region, BuildaBridge joined together with social service agencies to provide mental health and social services to these populations.  BuildaBridge joined the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative in 2011.  The programming evolved to become BuildaBridge's Refugee Project which now encompasses three sub-projects serving refugees, immigrants, aslyees and survivors of torture.


Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative
Led by Lutheran Children and Family Services (LCFS), The Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative (PRMHC) is a group of resettlement agencies, mental health providers, physicians and arts organizations working to link refugees in the city of Philadelphia to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health care. Initially funded by a Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectually DisAbility Services grant in March 2011, the collaborative began with a group of six core member organizations: LCFS, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Nationalities Services Center, BuildaBridge, Belmont Behavioral Health & Nemours Pediatrics. The collaborative has since grown to include such organizations as The City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program, First Person Arts, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital , Temple University's Intergenerational Center and Women Against Abuse. The collaborative as a whole and the many projects within it all seek to fulfill the Vision: All refugees have access to quality mental health supports including: a network of trained professionals committed to serving refugee populations, appropriate translation services and treatment centers who access these services, and a recognition of alternative treatment modules and funding for them.

BuildaBridge PRMHC Reports
Year 1 Report
Year 2 Report
Year 3 Report



Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience
Led by Nationalities Services Center, the Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) is a collaboration between NSC, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and BuildaBridge providing legal, social and therapeutic arts services to immigrant survivors of torture.  BuildaBridge serves as the collaborative's community mental health partner.  PPR services are tailored to the specific needs of the individual, and can include intensive case management, clinical mental health services, community mental health services, medical care, and legal assistance. 


Refugee Employment and Advancement Program (REAP)
Nationalities Services Center's REAP offers job, occupational, social and English as a Second Language (ESL) services to adult refugees.  As part of REAP's ESL program, BuildaBridge led art groups that taught participants life and occupational skills during the summer of 2014. 

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