Refugee Voices

HOPE AND PERSEVERENCE ARE THEMES AT CUYAMACA COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY

 

“Do what’s in your heart, and you will succeed.” – Valedictorian Bushra Rezoqi, an Iraqi immigrant and mother of three young children

June 4, 2010 (El Cajon) – Under a bright summer evening sky, students looking forward to a bright future were urged to have hope and to persevere no matter the odds at the 32nd annual Cuyamaca College commencement ceremony on Wednesday, June 2nd.

 

Class of 2010 Valedictorian Bushra Rezoqi shared her own story of hope, optimism and persistence in her address. A Chaldean immigrant who fled her native Iraq in 2001, Rezoqi first lived in Colombia and Ecuador, learning Spanish as her third language before she came to San Diego.  At the podium, Rezoqi said, “How is it possible I stand here today, speaking to you in my fourth language?”


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SUDANESE CENTER HOSTS FUNDRAISING EVENT SATURDAY

 

 

May 7, 2010 (San Diego) – San Diego’s Southern Sudanese Community Center invites the public to a benefit event on Saturday, May 8 at 4 p.m. Sample Sudanese foods, enjoy live music, and help support the center’s many programs to assist newly-arrived immigrants and refugees from the Sudan. 

 


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MICHELLE OBAMA VISITS FARM; MOST FARMERS NOT INVITED

By Chris Morrow, freelance journalist/CNN iReporter
April 14, 2010 (City Heights) --Residents of City Heights who spend hours daily tending the garden Michelle Obama visited today wished they had been part of the moment.
Hundreds of guests attended to meet the First Lady as she toured the New Roots Community Farm, but only three of the community growers were invited as she walked through their garden.

Many of the growers watched in their homes across the street. It was a time of happiness to have the First Lady visit the farm and also a time of sadness to not be included.


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LANGUAGE BARRIERS ENDANGER PATIENT HEALTH; NEW STANDARDS FOR PATIENT RIGHTS ANNOUNCED


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SD REFUGEE FORUM HOSTS “COLLABORATING FOR HEALTHY COMMUNICATION” CONFERENCE

 
Event Friday, April 9 at Cuyamaca College will address language barriers healthcare access


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REFUGEES FROM BURMA AND BHUTAN FIND NEW HOMES IN EAST SAN DIEGO REGION

By Miriam Raftery

March 28, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Hilda Moreo, 31, spent 24 years living in refugee camps on the border between Burma and Thailand. Today, she lives in a two-bedroom apartment in City Heights with her husband, her 10-year-old son, 4-year-old daughter, and her mother.

 

Born in Thailand to parents from Burma, Moreo recalls hardships and fear growing up. “The government in Burma, they want to control all the people who live there,” she said softly. “They kill the little kids and the pregnant women. Sometimes they ask the old men, pregnant women to carry heavy things.” Women were often raped, she revealed.


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IRAQI CHRISTIANS SHARE STORIES OF THEIR HOMELAND AND DREAMS FOR A NEW BABYLON IN EAST COUNTY

 CHALDEANS & ASSYRIANS COMMEMMORATE 1600-YEAR-OLD SYNOD

 

 By Miriam Raftery

 

January 22, 2010 (El Cajon) – “We look forward to establishing a New Babylon. This is something many of us have dreamed of,” Bishop Bawai Soro, a Chaldean Christian from Iraq, told East County Magazine in an exclusive interview.

 

Soro is among an estimated 65,000 to 70,000 Iraqi Christians now living in the western U.S., of whom most are in East County. He provided insights into the plight of persecuted Christians in Iraq, the struggles faced by thousands of local Iraq War refugees, the rich heritage of their ancient culture, and his hopes for the future of his people. 

 

He spoke with us at the Catholic Diocese of St. Peter the Apostle in El Cajon, where Chaldean and Assyrian bishops led a symposium January 7-9 to commemorate the 1600th anniversary of the Synod of Mar Isaac in 401 AD.


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SUMMIT SEEKS HELP FOR GROWING REFUGEE POPULATION IN EAST COUNTY

Nearly 85% of local refugees are from war-torn Iraq, straining resources on schools and social services; local leaders call for major changes in treatment of refugees

 

"We can create a national model," -- Sunny Cooke, president, Grossmont College

 

November 12, 2009 (El Cajon) – Impacts of the Iraq War are hitting home in East County, where so many Iraqi refugees have settled that El Cajon's mayor has dubbed a section of his community "Little Baghdad."  From Oct. 1, 2008 to October 1, 2009, the U.S. admitted almost 75,000 refugees—including 18,333 from Iraq.*  Since October 2008, San Diego has been taking in 400 refugee families a month.  Nearly 85% are from Iraq.  Almost 75% of all area refugees have settled in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District (GCCCD), straining resources beyond capacity in social services, education, and healthcare.

 

“Social Services predicts that 200 to 300 new families will be entering East County each month for the next two or three years,” Mike Lewis, PhD, assistant superintendent of education for the Grossmont Union High School District said at a November 6 summit at Cuyamaca College titled Spotlight on Refugee Education and Employment.  Some have spent weeks or even years in refugee camps.  Many don’t speak English and have not been able to receive an education.  Many refugees are also physically maimed by war or suffer post-traumatic stress.  Often they receive misinformation and find steep barriers to getting the help that they need.


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LOCAL GROUP HELPS WOMEN IN SUDAN: MARCH 29 WALK FOR DARFUR PLANNED HERE

By Miriam Raftery

March 26, 2009 (San Diego)--Horrified to learn that women in Darfur were being attacked by soldiers when they would go out to gather wood for cooking, San Diego-based Voices of Women started raising funds to send solar-powered stoves to the women of Darfur.


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