Safed House, a 501 c-3 non-profit, that provides a welcoming place for refugees and immigrants to share their stories in a culturally sensitive contest, will present compelling video accounts for the winners of the 2018 essay contest on Wednesday, November 7 at 6 pm. The ceremony celebration will be held at Alhambra High School located at 3839 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85019.
Safed House will portray the journey of Alaa Alothman, first place winner, escaping Aleppo, Syria, enduring life in a Jordanian refugee camp, experiencing prejudice and isolation in Jordan, meeting influential teacher advocates there, finally moving to Phoenix to finish high school, once again meeting supportive teacher advocates who taught her English and gave her the strength to survive the transition to life in America. She is now a Freshman at Phoenix College, studying to become a teacher to give back to her fellow refugees.
Poung Change, a Myanmar refugee, second place winner, shares how his whole family left Myanmar for a refugee camp in Thailand, where they lived for nine years, and survived the difficulty of political oppression. He tells the pain of leaving his grandmother in the refugee camp when he and his mother were chosen by the UN to move to the US, first Indianpolis then to Phoenix. He shares how the language barrier challenged him along the way and now he learned to cope with the struggle and now happily recounts his new life in America.
Four of the six winners attend Alhambra High School including Poung, Alaa (former student there), runner-up - Prashna Rai (from Nepal) and honorable mention - Christine Nyamurigerwa (from Burundi).
"We are thrilled that so many Alhambra students ranked high in the Safed House essay contest," says Principal Karen Cardenas, Alhambra High School. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to share their unique stories. It's a pleasure to partner with Safed House to host this important event."
We are appreciative of the support and participation of two other Valley High Schools: Dobson High School where runner-up Souzan Brimo, female Syrian Refugee goes and Coronado High School where runner-up Areli Rodriguez Magana attends. All of the stories recounted difficult journeys taken in hopes of a better life in America. Many shared the mixed feeling of sadness of leaving their homeland blended with the happiness of starting their new life in a new country.
Support for the video production will be provided by University of Advancing Technology UAT. A donation was made recently by Julie English and Huda Asadi to support the first-place winner's recognition activities.
Safed House is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit that provides a welcoming place for refugees and recent immigrants to share their stories. Our mission is to develop a culturally sensitive space for refugees to find voice in the American tapestry. We are dedicated to representing unheard voices of refugees and are providing a secure platform where they can safely tell their human-interest narratives to an empathetic audience.
Safed House takes its inspiration from Safed, a small town in the northern Galilee, which was once home to many Palestinians who became refugees in 1948. The founders of Safed House are a mixed household reigning from Palestinian and Jewish American descent. We hope to promote further understanding between refugees, from the Middle East and elsewhere, and the many descendants of refugees and immigrants who comprise much of America’s diverse fabric.
We are creating an environment where refugees can tell their stories with the goal of bridge building (into the community at large). The organization is focused on programs and activities to help shift the perspective in America regarding refugees from one of daunting and fearful statistics to one worthy of compassion and awe.