Open Doors for Refugees and Jewish Social Services observed World Refugee Day on June 20th by holding a panel discussion with several representatives of the Madison refugee community to discuss their hopes, challenges, and needs.
The theme this year, set by the United Nations: Everyone has a right to seek safety, no matter who they are, where they come from, or when they seek protection.
Panelists included Christopher Bisimwa (Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC), Kasereka Lukando (DRC), Kassim Rajab (DRC), brothers Hussein and Muntadher Al-Shammari (Iraq), Becca Schwartz (JSS Refugee Resettlement Manager), and moderator Joy Cardin (former WPR talk show host).
They spoke about the difficult process of relocating to the United States and concerns about those left behind in their home countries. They also shared educational and work-related accomplishments since arriving in Madison.
For additional coverage of the panel event, see the Channel 3000 article: ‘I’ve made Madison my home’: Refugees share achievements, challenges on World Refugee Day.
Madison is a richer community for having these individuals as our neighbors, and Open Doors for Refugees thanks each of the panelists for sharing their experiences with us.