The New Americans of Salt Lake Instagram

Kadi - Country of Origin: Mali

My dad won the visa lottery and we emigrated to the United States when I was only five years old. Growing up in the U.S., I experienced a lot of discrimination and Islamophobia in and outside of my community. My experiences as a young person taught me to pay attention and become committed to civil liberty issues.

Coming from a household that doesn’t have much, and sometimes not being able to afford basic needs, is really difficult. I’ve wondered how it would feel to walk in someone else's shoes who has everything – someone who doesn’t have to worry about school lunch and supplies.

December 15, 2017 was the most devastating moment for me and my family. My brother got extremely sick and was diagnosed with cancer. He was in and out of the hospital for almost 14 months. My brother fought a long, hard battle until January 21, 2018 when he passed away. That day I not only lost my brother, but my best friend who helped me become the strong, brave person and activist I am today.

Still, despite such devastating moments, I remained optimistic and strong because my brother had always taught me to remember that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. I now want to go to college and plan to major in political science, where I’ll gain a broader knowledge about government issues. I will, in turn, educate others on the importance of activism and involvement in social issues.

#thenewamericansofsaltlake #refugeesarewelcomehere #mali #newamericans #inspiration

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My name is Paw Si. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to go to school in America because I didn’t have the same opportunities as a young child. My parents came from Burma, but I was born in the Umpiem Refugee Camp in Thailand. Both of my parents never attended any formal schooling. Since coming to Utah, I want to have a better life. I am excited to continue learning and want to set an example for my younger siblings and others in my cultural community. I was accepted to the Nursing Early Assurance program at the University of Utah, which I hope to attend. I will be the first generation to graduate from high school and attend college to pursue higher education.

While in Thailand, I noticed many healthcare needs in my own family and community and developed a passion to help others with health problems. As I’ve volunteered at clinics and research labs, I became interested in learning more about women’s reproductive health. During my senior year, I was able to take an internship class at the labor and delivery department at the University of Utah hospital. I love to watch the ultrasounds and realize how amazing the human body is. Now I would like to specialize in becoming an OB nurse and help more refugee women to have better healthcare. My future goal is to one day return to the refugee camps where I was born to help provide needed healthcare and to continue to help others in the community through nursing.

#thenewamericans #thenewamericansofsaltlake #refugeesarewelcomehere #welcomingsaltlake #refugee #standwithrefugees #umpiem #burma @IRC

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Samira - Country of Origin: Iraq

Samira founded Women of the World in 2009 to fulfill a lifelong dream of helping refugee women from around the world achieve self-sufficiency. Under her leadership WoW has become the preeminent women’s refugee service organization in Utah.
In 2018, Samira was awarded the America’s Region Nansen Award from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland; she was chosen from over 450 international nominees. "When I was nine years old in Iraq I drew a picture of a woman trapped in a spider web. People asked me "why is she opening her hand and yelling?" The spider web was the society we were living in where woman did not have equal rights and were not considered a priority. We couldn't speak up or do anything. We would be put in jail for talking about women’s rights. I thought, one day I will be help women of the Middle East.

I spent 17 years as a senior engineer at Micron. I resigned from there in 2008. I decided it was time to pursue my dream and my dream was to help women from all over the world. I felt it deep in my heart and now I am living my dream. For the last ten years I have helped over 1500 women from all over the world.

The women I work with have had many horrific and traumatic experiences...war, oppression, poverty, violence and more. Many come filled with despair, ptsd, depression and many other things. I help as an advocate and I try to help them have a better life for themselves and their families. When they come, they need someone to be with them, to smile with them, to cry with them, to make them feel safe...that's what I did, because even if you've lost everything, life goes on." #thenewamericans #thenewamericansofsaltlake #refugeesarewelcomehere #welcomingsaltlake #womenoftheworld #WoW

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File - Country of Origin: Burundi

My name is Jile Tangishaka. I was born in West Africa in Burundi, but because of the conflict in the region between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups, I did not live there long. Eventually, our family was required to leave everything behind and move to the United States.
Soon after my family arrived in Utah, my father was diagnosed with kidney cancer. It was a slow and painful death and hard for all of us to witness. My dad was everything to our family. He showed us what it is to be a family man and what a strong work ethic means. My family is now struggling without him. The loss of my father has put an enormous amount of pressure on my mother to provide for my four siblings and me. She is an incredible woman.
Before my father’s death, I promised him that I would look after my siblings. I see going to college as an important step in this pledge. Currently, I have been accepted to both Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College and want to study law enforcement. If college becomes an option for me, I have a better chance of providing for my family and be able to be a good role model for my younger siblings. I am hoping to take care of my family, pursue the
American dream and make my father proud.

#thenewamericans #thenewamericansofsaltlake #refugeesarewelcomehere #welcomingsaltlake #refugeestories #burundi #refugee

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Abdul - Country of Origin: Afghanistan
I am from a place where being alive depends on luck; I am from Afghanistan. The climate is very unstable; I lived on the line between life and death, and there was no way to predict it. I am grateful to be alive and am proud and happy to be in the USA. I want to correctly use my opportunity of being here, and I want to reach the highest part of my goals, which is to go through medical school. I want to focus on my education so I can be a positive and helpful
person to society. I was born to a bright family who knew the value of knowledge and education. I came to the USA in February 2018 directly from Afghanistan. I was excited to be in the USA and I had high expectations of being able to achieve great things. Being in the USA is a goal and dream of everyone, but only some lucky people can be here. We
waited two years to receive the visa. During the two years, we always checked our email and called to check about our visa. They always told us: “We are in the process and it will take some time.” But it is very hard to wait for something that is so important to you. Finally, after two years, we received our visa and we were very happy that we were going to the USA. I will keep working hard to make my family, people, and lovely homeland proud. I will show the
world with my knowledge and achievements that anything is possible.

#thenewamericans #thenewamericansofsaltlake #refugeesarewelcomehere #welcomingsaltlake #afghanistan #refugee #standwithrefugees #inspiration #worldrefugeeday

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Ibrahim - Country of Origin: Burundi

I am a refugee from a Malawi refugee camp. I was born in Burundi, Bujumbura and have been in the United States for six years now.

When my family and I arrived in Utah, we had to learn a new language, culture, and way of living. When I started school, I did not speak any English. The only thing I knew how to say to people was “hi.” In school, I would get very frustrated to the point where I would sit in the back of class and cry, but I did not let my language barrier and cultural differences become an anchor in my journey. Instead, I found a way to use my challenges to push me to work hard and I excelled in my academics.

My goal is to one day become a great lawyer or doctor, with a lot to offer my community in the United States and Africa.

#thenewamericans #thenewamericansofsaltlake #refugeesarewelcomehere #welcomingsaltlake #burundi #refugee #refugeecamp #inspiration #resilience #portraitphotography

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