Year in Review 2020: Meeting our new heroes


In 2020, we met our new heroes. Around the globe, refugees stepped up in their communities to face the challenges of this year. From healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic to refugee advocates helping ensure access to voting resources for everyone in their communities, 2020 showed us the very best of humanity. 

Take a moment to meet just a few of the people who gave us hope in 2020. 

Fatima Dirie: A former Somali refugee who now works as Salt Lake City’s Refugee Liaison in the Mayor’s Office. She revived the city’s Know Your Neighbor program and helps newly resettled refugees connect with local volunteers. 

Fatima Mirzakhail: An advisory board member and former mentee for GirlForward, a women-led organization that helps refugee girls find a safe space to develop life skills, practice English and express themselves. 

Wajiha Rizvi: Fatima Mirzakhail’s GirlForward mentor and lawyer. She’s an active member of the Austin community and helped Fatima find her place in her new home. 

Fiston Mwesige: Former refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and founder of Umoja Generation, a non-profit organization in Salt Lake City that helps young refugees connect with mentors in their communities. 

Miranda Bennett: Founder of Miranda Bennett Studio, an ethical women’s clothing brand in Austin, TX. Her brand’s dyes and pigments are sourced from Austin, and the studio has a history of offering meaningful work opportunities to newly resettled refugees in Texas. 

Maria Vung: A resettled refugee from Myanmar and sewing manager with Open Arms Studio. Since the start of the pandemic, she has led a team who sews masks for frontline healthcare workers. 

Wandaka Musongera: Wandaka is the Assistant Farm Manager for New Leaf Agriculture and former refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the pandemic, New Leaf Agriculture has been an essential food service, and Wandaka continues to help provide his community in Austin, TX with fresh produce. 

How you can help…

There are many ways that you can step up for refugees in your community and around the world. One way to start is to become a monthly donor with USA for UNHCR. By giving monthly, you help ensure that refugees and forcibly displaced people everywhere have access to the aid they need to reach safety. 

Dec 29 2020
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