TYO Recommends: Friday, June 22

This week TYO recognizes World Refugee Day with inspiring stories from around the world, projects created and run by innovative refugees, and a summer reading list for both children and adults on refugee issues.

Who are the Refugees? A British website tells the STORIES, struggles and successes of refugees now living in London. Personal testimonies tell of the turmoil in their home countries, the challenges of travel and preserving families, the job search in London and the new communities they’ve found. They tell humorous, uplifting and inspiring stories of survival, perseverance, and exposure to British culture, and as one Kurdish refugee now says: “I feel a Londoner [now]; yes I do totally.”

ANERA Reports: In honor of World Refugee Day, American Near East Refugee Aid released a comprehensive REPORT on the state of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The report provides an insight into their living conditions, building infrastructure, education systems and health issues, as well as interactive maps, staggering statistics and pictures of personal stories.

A Revolution through Rap? Susan Firouz, an Afghani refugee in Iran, reflects on her experiences with discrimination, xenophobia and hardship, and reflects on how MUSIC allowed her to express herself and pursue her passions. Her family feels that her daring brand of rap music is a reflection of the struggles of the Afghani people, and is proud to support her in her pursuits.

A Different Kind of Summer Reading. The UN Refugee Agency has released a recommended summer READING LIST on the topic of refugees. Child-friendly titles include In the Sea There are Crocodiles, a 10-year-old Afghani girl’s story, and Muktar and the Camels, set in Somalia; while timeless classics such as The Kite Runner, Persepolis and Goodbye Sarajevo are recommended for adults. “The whole area of refugees can seem very complicated,” the report reads, “But the great thing about books is that we become caught up in the story and as we get to know the characters we start to understand just what the experience of being a refugee is really like.

A Gardener’s Journey. Jenkins Macedo, a Clark University student from Zwedru, Liberia, was separated from his family in the Liberian civil war at age 5 and spent his childhood in refugee camps in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Ghana. He SURVIVED with his love of gardening, using his produce to feed himself and earn the money to go to school. Now 24 years old and pursuing a master’s in international development and social change, Macedo hopes to use his experiences to educate his community and open community centers in his former camps. But his ultimate goal? “I want to make my mother proud!”

Refugee TV! UNRWA offers insight into a new educational television programming made by refugees, for refugees. The programs are meant to reinforce what students are learning in the classroom, with segments on math and Arabic and plans to expand to English and science. In addition, UNWRA TV offers positions to college-age students, allowing them to gain professional experience in TV broadcasting.

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