This Week in Refugee News

July 14, 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:

In Houston, Former Refugees are Transformed through Their Art (via Voice of America)

Ammar Alobaidi, a former nuclear engineer in Iraq, finds a passion for art and success in United States.

“I’m a local artist, not a refugee anymore,” he said. “This feeling gives me more power to create more beautiful things.”

Take a look at Ammar’s work and learn more about how Houston is standing with refugees.

Soccer Camp Offers Escape for Refugees (via WUSA 9)

This Landover, Maryland soccer camp may look and sound like a typical soccer camp, but there is one major difference: all camp goers are resettled refugees.

“I feel like I’m in heaven when I’m playing soccer,” laughed Aaron Kaitenda, a refugee from Congo, who spent years in Uganda before resettling in the United States.

Kayla Dunlap, a volunteer coach said soccer can be a unifier. “It’s just a way for people to bond automatically,” she said.

Meet some of the campers and see their skills in action!

Malala Highlights Education Needs of Iraq’s Displaced Children (via UNHCR)

This week, Nobel Peace Prize winner and education champion Malala visited displaced Iraqis in Hasansham U3 camp, home to 7,600 Iraqis displaced by the conflict in Mosul.

“Education cannot be ignored. Especially for countries that are going through conflict. Education is a basic human right. Every world leader gives their child education so let’s give it to these children.” Malala

Read more about Malala’s visit and how children in camps are persevering against the odds.

‘Hello Neighbor’ Pairs Refugees, Pittsburgh Residents for Mentorship (via Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

How do you breakdown barriers between newly resettled refugees and their new community? For Sloane Davidson, founder of the Pittsburgh non-profit, Hello Neighbor, the answer is a mentorship program. Refugees are becoming more acclimated to Pittsburgh and they are building friendships.

The results so far are inspiring. Families in the program agree to meet once a week, but according to Davidson, most families are exceeding the minimum requirements. Building on the success of the Pittsburgh pilot, Hello Neighbor seeks to expand to new communities by 2018.

Learn more about Hello Neighbor and how you can get involved.

11 Books Written by or About Refugees to Add to Your Summer Reading List (via PopSugar)

Novels, poems, short stories, children’s books and even comics—refugees are writing about their experiences and there is book for every reader.

PopSugar asked Amazon book editor Sarah Smith to recommend a few books both about refugees and by refugees.

Check out the recommendations and add a couple more books to that summer reading list!