Celebrating World Refugee Day in Northern Nevada

Celebrating World Refugee Day in Northern Nevada
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 10:33 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - June 20, 2022 is World Refugee Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness and support for those who were forced to leave their home country to escape dangerous situations like war, persecution, or natural disaster. Over the weekend, the Northern Nevada International Center hosted a special event for the refugees in our community.

“We are celebrating the resilience of the 400 plus folks we have resettled in Northern Nevada since 2016,” said Carina Brown, Ph.D., Executive Director of NNIC.

During Saturday’s World Refugee Day celebration, refugees spoke to the crowds, sharing stories of their journeys. Refugees, including Luka Bwaye, who moved to Reno back in 2018 with his family from a refugee camp in Africa.

“When we were in a refugee camp, food was not promised, we had to receive food every month and when its not available we had to wait, and water was also a problem, and some people had to walk a mile sometimes to fetch water,” said Bwaye.

When Luka finally got to Reno he became enrolled at Wooster High School, without knowing a word of English. But because of his resilience, he still found a way.

“At WHS I decided to join the track and field in order to help me improve my English,” said Bwaye.

He would also spend his days after practice at the library to immerse himself in the English language.

Now, he is going into his second year at UNR with a 3.5 GPA, studying public health and premedical studies.

“The only thing I can say is thank you, because there is nothing I can do to pay back what they have done for me and my family, and for all of the refugees, because they have changed a lot of lives and helped a lot of people,” said Bwaye.

A need for help that is ever present. “In the last 6 months we’ve resettled 150 Afghans, and now we’re switching over to Ukranians,” said Brown.

To learn more about NNIC, click here.

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