This Week in Refugee News

June 30, 2017

Each week we collect the most interesting, inspiring and innovative refugee stories from around the world to share with you. Here are this week’s picks:

This D.C. Chef Is Leading the Lao Food Movement (via Tasting Table)

Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places. For Seng Luangrath, a James Beard semifinalist and Michelin award winning chef, the inspiration to cook came to her as a twelve year old living in a refugee camp in Thailand.

She recalls watching other refugees cook and being fascinated by the variety of Lao cuisine. She then asked the refugee cooks for lessons.

“When I want to do something, I will make it happen,” Luangrath says.

Make it happen she has. Luangrath is the owner of two restaurants and at the forefront of an international movement to promote Lao cuisine.

Kids Go From Refugee Camp to Summer Camp in Winston-Salem (via The Independent Tribune)

Take a dedicated group of retired teachers, add a group of newly resettled refugee children, add the spirit of the American summer camp and you start to get an idea of what a new summer camp in North Carolina looks like.

“It’s like having superheroes come out of my retirement for one last mission,” said retired teacher and camp volunteer Mildred Paden. “Refugees are part of our city and this week is just going beautifully.”

Read more about the summer camp and how this dedicated group of educators are giving these refugee children the support they need to succeed.

Tortured for Being Who You Are (via USA for UNHCR)

Did you know that 76 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships? It is not just a cruel statistic, but it has serious consequences for LGBTI refugees who face heightened risks and are a particularly vulnerable population.

One LGBTI refugee, Nadia, not only escaped her native Iraq but she had to escape her family’s house. Her father and uncle tortured her.

Nadia is a survivor. Learn more about how USA for UNHCR donors are standing with LGBTI refugees around the world.

At World Refugee Day Celebration in Omaha, 31 Take Oath of U.S. Citizenship (via Omaha World Herald)

31 resettled refugees in Omaha, Nebraska celebrated this World Refugee Day with a very special ceremony: they took the oath of U.S. citizenship.

“There are so many things that can cause you to be hopeless. But this — this is a beautiful day,” said Nyakim Chuol, a refugee from South Sudan who is now a U.S. citizen.

Read more about the World Refugee Day ceremony here and about how Nebraska leads the nation in resettlement per capita here.

Elmo: Refugee Kids Are Just Like Us (via CNN)

Syrian refugee children in Jordan got a special visit from Elmo back in February and now Elmo is telling the world how refugee kids are just like us.

“They (refugee children) like to play and learn just like Elmo and all his friends at Sesame street” he said during a Facebook Live interview with CNN. “Elmo thinks it’s important to know that everybody is the same deep down and that’s very important.”

Read more about Elmo’s visit and watch his interview with CNN here.