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Press Release

BHCC’s Boston Welcome Back Center Receives Ubuntu Award From Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights at Boston Medical Center

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights at Boston Medical Center (BCRHHR) held its annual Client Gala on July 10th, 2019. Nearly 170 clients and supporters of the Center gathered at the 14th floor of Boston University’s Hiebert Lounge to honor the strength and resilience of refugees from around the world. Bunker Hill Community College’s (BHCC) Boston Welcome Back Center received BCRHHR’s Ubuntu Award. Each year, BCRHHR presents the Ubuntu Award to an organization that embodies the spirit of the Zulu word, explained by Archbishop Desmond Tutu as meaning “the essence of being human.”

Evans Erilus accepting an award.

Evans Erilus, an Educational Case Manager at BHCC’s Boston Welcome Back Center accepted the award. Evans spoke about how the Boston Welcome Back Center successfully helps nurses trained in other countries become registered nurses in Massachusetts. “Some of our folks experience great loss, and just for what they want to do, which is helping other people,” Evans said in his remarks. “In some instances, the nurses had to flee their home countries because they may have provided aid to those of a different sexual orientation, or for aiding the wrong political party.”

Many internationally educated nurses come to Massachusetts and find it difficult to obtain a license to practice here.  The process can be complicated and involves working with several different agencies, filling out forms and sometimes meeting additional educational requirements. Since the program’s inception in 2005, the Boston Welcome Back Center has worked with 1,617 nurses from over 120 countries and territories. The center has also helped 435 nurses secure licensure by which to return to their professions.

BCRHHR’s Client Gala started fourteen years ago to commemorate World Refugee Day & the United Nations Day in Support of Torture Survivors.  It has grown into a celebration of BCRHHR’s clients and a tribute to their strength.  Since BCRHHR sees refugees and asylum seekers who are primarily survivors of torture, it is an evening of celebration and hope for people who have experienced trauma. 

For more information about the Welcome Back Center at BHCC, visit bhcc.edu/welcomeback.


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About Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College is the largest community college in Massachusetts, enrolling approximately 18,000 students annually. BHCC has two campuses in Charlestown and Chelsea, and a number of other locations throughout the Greater Boston area. BHCC is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts. Sixty-five percent of the students are people of color and more than half of BHCC's students are women. The College also enrolls nearly 600 international students who come from 94 countries and speak more than 75 languages.