Gem State Roundup

Idaho agencies will host World Refugee Day celebration with food, dance, music, citizenship ceremony

By: - June 9, 2022 4:30 am
Halima Hamud was born in a refugee camp in Kenya.

Halima Hamud was born in a refugee camp in Kenya. She arrived in Boise with her family as a child, experiencing both kindness and bullying as a Black Muslim Somali refugee in Idaho. She attended Boise State University and won prestigious honors for her academic and community work. (Photo by Priscilla Grover, courtesy of Boise State University)

Members of Idaho’s refugee community will gather in Boise and Twin Falls this month to mark World Refugee Day with music, food, dance and a citizenship ceremony.

World Refugee Day recognizes people who fled their home countries to escape war or persecution.

“It’s a day to remember the hardships that folks went through, but also to celebrate their resilience and contributions and friendships that make us who we are as a community and as a nation,” Tara Wolfson, director of the Idaho Office for Refugees, said in a news release about the celebrations.

The Idaho Office for Refugees, Agency for New Americans, International Rescue Committee and College of Southern Idaho Refugee Programs worked with community partners to plan and host the events.

World Refugee Day in Boise

This event runs alongside the Capital City Public Market’s weekly farmers market. There will be performances, artisan goods and food from Amina’s Sambusas, Darjeeling Momo and Tarbush Kitchen.

When: 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 18. Citizenship ceremony is at 11 a.m.
Where: The Grove Plaza, 827 W. Main St. in downtown Boise
Partners and sponsors: City of Boise, Krazy Coupon Lady Foundation, Tidwell Social Work Services, Islamic Center of Boise, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Idaho Museum of International Diaspora and Neighbors United

World Refugee Day in Twin Falls

The Magic Valley celebration will include free food representing several countries.

When: 6 p.m. Friday, June 24. Cultural performances begin at 7 p.m.
Where: Twin Falls City Park, 400 Shoshone St. East, Twin Falls
Sponsors: Tidwell Social Work Services, Chobani and the Idaho Office for Refugees

Idaho’s tradition of helping refugees find a new home

Idaho’s refugee resettlement program began in 1975 and has aided the resettlement of about 250 to 1,300 people each year. Their countries and regions of origin include Southeast Asia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Ukraine and many others. Idaho now has resettlement programs in Boise, Twin Falls and Pocatello.

More than 700 refugees have been resettled by Idaho’s programs since Oct. 1, 2021, according to the news release. The nonprofit Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Immigrants and Refugees estimates that 200 Ukrainian refugees have arrived since March 1, it said.

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Audrey Dutton
Audrey Dutton

Audrey Dutton, senior investigative reporter, joined the Idaho Capital Sun after 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her favorite topics to cover include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Dutton hails from Twin Falls. She attended college at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, and received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. Before coming home to Idaho, Dutton worked as a journalist in Minnesota, New York, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Dutton's work has earned dozens of state, regional and national awards for investigative reporting, health care and business reporting, data visualization and more.