from the desk of Jan Demers, Executive Director




Virginie Diambou  a physician and former asylee, relocated to the U.S., specifically in Vermont, and has been here for a decade. Virginie is now a U.S. Citizen.  


“When I arrived in this country, I had no other choice than to start over my life, and learn everything about living in the United States. Life was very hard at that time with not only two young children to take care of, but also with the inability to speak English. I was grateful to benefit from CVOEO services with access to the food from the food shelf and later on, from great guidance on how to start a small business.”   


March 2…Ethnic clashes in northeastern Congo kill more than 40 people - Reuters 


“Since then, I mainly work with the underserved, fighting for social justice, equity, access to housing, food, and transportation. Through my work as a refugee outreach coordinator, I educate and orient individuals on how and where to get the services they need.”   


In the Congo, Diambou was a physician. She is now working on another PhD in leadership and policy. Diambou is employed at the University of Vermont and has more credentials than I have characters to list. Recently she became the newest CVOEO Board Member. 

March 10….As many as 18 Afghan soldiers killed fighting in western province - Reuters 

Karibu…Welcome.  The language is Swahili.  Karibu is also a New American Fashion Show. Models from countries across the world will be wearing traditional dress and “takes” on tradition designed and sewn by artisans from their own community. This year’s show will be intergenerational, featuring families—grandmothers, sons and grand-daughters alike will walk in-sync, presenting the breathtaking evolution of fashion in their cultures. The event will take place at Main Street Landing on Saturday evening, April 28, 2018.    

Karibu brings color to Vermont, to a new home. It is the fantastic and brilliant color of cloth and the amazing color and splendor of race. It is a place where the peoples of the world and the rhythm of the world combine to announce joy!  It is a suspension of oppression, poverty and lack, and lifts up pride, skill and beauty. If you know where to look for it, you can find it here. 

March 11….Syrian army splinters rebel enclave in Ghouta onslaught - Reuters


Headlines shock and numb our souls at the same time. Personal stories give us hope.   A strong accepting community brings support, healing and health. Karibu lifts up families who now make their home in Vermont and have escaped the violence of the Congo, the onslaught of Syria and the killing in Afghanistan.   

Karbiu started out as a fundraiser to help those like Virginie who are seeking asylum and have few places to turn. The result is more than raising essential funding. It is raising a community of hope. Virginie, in addition to being a physician, an advocate, a volunteer and one who changes the world, is a seamstress for Karibu.  Welcome!    

Jan F. Demers, Executive Director, CVOEO – 802-862-2771 ext. 740 –

CVOEO addresses fundamental issues of economic, social, and racial justice and works with people to achieve economic independence.


Serving more than 10,000 households annually,
impacting the lives of over 20,000 individuals