SPOKANE, Wash. -- A local organization is urging people to not forget about the refugee crisis.
World Relief Spokane's hosted the 'Not Forgotten Benefit Concert' Friday evening. The performers were from all walks of life some are refugees, others born here. Pingala Dhital helped make sure the concert runs smoothly. She herself knows of rough times.
"I am a Bhutanese refugee. We were brought to Nepal. We lived in the refugee camp for 18 years," she said.
Dhital came to Spokane 10 years ago.
"I thought we were in Washington D.C., but after three days I found out it was not Washington D.C.," she laughed.
She works for World Relief and helps refugees resettle here, like she once had to do.
"I can understand them, I can tell them, I can encourage them, it's kind of giving hope," Dhital said.
Hope is what they are holding onto as the number of refugees able to resettle here dwindles. World Relief Director Mark Finney said nationally refugee resettlement is down 60 to 80 percent from prior years, including in Spokane. In the last six months, World Relief has resettled 130 refugees. Usually in that same time frame the will have 300 to 400.
"The refugee process was already the hardest process to enter the United States in any immigration process. There's this very through vetting process, most people take at least two years to get through the system but in the last year the process has gotten much more difficult,” Finney explained.
Finney said there has been federal rule changes and there are less people to process refugees.
"It's sad, sometimes it's heartbreaking. I can think of the mother who like me is still in the refugee camp maybe looking for a hope,” Dhital said.
People gathered Friday night to show their support for the refugees who made it here and the ones who have yet to.