Refugees

photo of FRANK Gallery Karen Youth Art Group
Karen Youth Art Group

North Carolina is home to a growing Karen community, an ethnic minority from Burma that has been forced out of their country due to war. Many of these refugees call the Triangle home, and for the past six years, they have been incorporating their traditional farming techniques in growing both local and Asian produce at the Transplanting Traditions Farm, a five-acre plot of land in Chapel Hill.

A SolarBee
Medora Corporation

The Department of Environmental Quality has pulled the plug on SolarBees.

DEQ says it's removing the devices from Jordan Lake. SolarBees have been churning water at several spots on the lake in an attempt to reduce algae blooms, but a report from DEQ says there has been no improvement in water quality. 

The agency is reevaluating other measures that would limit runoff from the surrounding area, but developers are pushing back. 

Hassina Kiboua works with refugees in Ireland. She observed an art class at the Newcomers School.
Jess Clark

Visitors from seven European countries were in Greensboro Monday to learn how the Doris Henderson Newcomers School educates newly arrived immigrant students.

On Monday afternoon, Gov. Pat McCrory joined a few other Republican governors who wanted to close the door on refugees from Syria. The following morning, he appeared on Fox News and CNN. The chorus of governors was growing so loud that White House officials arranged a phone conference for Tuesday night.

Trieu Tran in 'Uncle Ho to Uncle Sam,' performed Sept. 17-Oct 6, 2013 at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles.
Craig Schwartz

Trieu Tran has overcome immense challenges in his life as a refugee from the Vietnam War. His journey to America was sustained on the hope and promise of freedom. But when he arrived, his life was not nearly as glamorous.

Meanwhile, Tran struggled to understand his identity as a refugee in America. He took up acting, eventually landing roles in movies like “Tropic Thunder” and the award-winning TV series “The Newsroom.”

An image of members of USCRI-NC and refugees
USCRI-NC / http://www.refugees.org/about-us/where-we-work/north-carolina/

After nine months in the United States, Zia Ziauddin still has not found a job, but it’s not because he isn’t qualified. Before resettling in the United States with his family, Ziauddin worked in a senior position at a city management company in Afghanistan. He has several skills to offer but finding the right fit has been hard.

“In some interviews they say I am overqualified for the entry-level position I applied to,” Ziauddin said. “That makes me unhappy and disappointed but this is my situation and I am dealing with it.”

Filming of This is My Home Now.
Siera Schubach-Mariah, Dunn Kramer, Dean MacLeod

Some of the first Montagnard immigrants, people from a mountain region of Southeast Asia, to came to North Carolina in 1986 and 1987. They were granted refugee status in recognition of their support to the U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam War. But since then, the newest immigrants have made their way to America because they were fleeing religious and political prosecution. TheMontagnard families live in two worlds: one that is still close to the traditions and ways of their homeland and the other in modern American society.

Picture of gavel
Flickr.com

Tens of thousands of unaccompanied child immigrants have turned themselves in at the U.S. Border this year.

Once they’ve been arrested, the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement looks for places to put these kids until their day in immigration court.

The O.R.R. reports 1,648 children were placed in North Carolina between January and August.

Burning Coal Theatre

While Anne Frank’s story is familiar to many, the production currently on stage at Raleigh’s Burning Coal Theatre is a bit different. 

Burmese Crops Sprout In Orange County

Oct 29, 2013
Farmer at Transplanting Traditions in Orange County
Emma Miller

Some refugees in Chapel Hill are finding a way to reconnect with their native farming tradition.

The Karen are a displaced ethnic minority from the Southeast Asian nation of Burma (also known as Myanmar). More than a thousand have ended up in Orange County through resettlement programs, which place them in areas like Chapel Hill with free transportation, good schools and available work as housekeepers.

With the help of a community farming project, Karen people in Chapel Hill are once again growing Burmese crops and making money along the way.

Akib Khan was a reporter with WUNC's Youth Radio Institute this summer.
WUNC

This summer WUNC has been working with six youth reporters as part of the Summer Youth Radio Institute in our American Graduate Project.  Akib Khan moved with his family to the U.S. from Dhaka, Bangladesh when he was nine years old. He reports on the Burmese refugee community in Carrboro.

Abdul Hussain and his family came to Carrboro in July. Hussain grew up in Burma. He says when he was 13, the local government made false allegations against him, forcing him to flee his homeland and that this happens to many minorities in Burma. He lived in Malaysia for years before finally being granted asylum in the United States. When he arrived, the first thing he did was look for something familiar—as a Muslim, he wanted to find a mosque.

Some of the farmers at Transplanting Traditions.
Transplanting Traditions Community Farm

On 4 acres just outside Chapel Hill, nearly 150 Karen refugees till the soil as they did back home in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

Transplanting Traditions Community Farm is educating locals about Burmese vegetables and cuisine, and teaching the refugees about American produce, with the eventual goal of setting them up as full-time farmers.

Ndabarushimana Christopher is a musician and refugee from Burundi who now calls Greensboro his home.
Ndabarushimana Christopher

Now in its fourth year, the Mosaic Festival celebrates the diversity and cultures of the Triad, attracting thousands of attendees. Host Frank Stasio talks with Sarah Ivory, director of the Immigration and Refugee Program of Church World Service of Greensboro, which organizes the festival. Plus, the band Wareware featuring Ndabarushimana Christopher, a Greensboro musician and refugee from Burundi, performs live at Triad Stage.

Darlene Nicgorski
hrcr.org

Darlene Nicgorski was a nun when she was convicted of conspiracy and faced a 25-year prison term in the 1980s for her work helping Central American refugees. She didn’t end up having to serve that term, but her work in the so-called Sanctuary Movement made her the poster child of immigrant activism in the 1980s.

Abu, from Africa, smiles in the ''Giving Closet'' at the Newcomers School in Greensboro
Jeff Tiberii

The Doris Henderson Newcomers School in Greensboro is a melting pot. Since August of 2007 the school has welcomed about 3,000 students from around the world who are transitioning to a life in America while learning English. Seventy-five percent of the students are refugees and the challenges facing them are numerous.