Refugees share their survival stories on World Refugee Day - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Refugees share their survival stories on World Refugee Day

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

June 20 is World Refugee Day, honoring the millions of people who have left their homes during times of unrest to seek safety in other countries. Thursday at Burlington's City Hall three refugees shared their stories of survival.

Yusuf Abdi's remembered his childhood in Somalia as normal. His father was an officer in the army and his mother was a beautician at the most popular hotel in the country.

"We used to have every normal things as everybody do here," Abdi explained.

But, in the 1990s the Somali Civil War changed his life. Abdi recounted stories of the militia raiding his school. And in college, he said a missile landed inside his classroom.

"It was something you can't imagine. It's what I can say, a man-made disaster," Abdi said.

War, or as he called it-- a man-made disaster, tore apart his family. His father was assassinated by his own body guards in front of Abdi and his siblings. The 31-year-old eventually sought refuge in the United States. His siblings and mother are now living in various countries around the world. Abdi said it is hard being without them.

"I am safe now, I am working, I have a job, but I'm only just myself. I'll show you the picture-- how it's important being with your family and how it's difficult to be by yourself," Abdi said, holding up a picture of his family at a birthday party.

Abdi's story is not unique. Each year 70,000-80,000 refugees begin new lives in the United States; 325 of them settle in Vermont annually.

"Everything is different: the food, the people, the language, the housing, everything is different," explained Judy Scott of the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, which hosted the event.

The VRRP helps refugees find housing, jobs, and even doctors, and to learn English. Scott invited Abdi and others to share their stories on Thursday for World Refugee Day.

"For those born in this country it's an opportunity to listen, to learn, to understand, and I hope to figure out some ways to prevent the things that have forced them to become refugees," Scott explained.

Abdi sends part of every paycheck to his mother. He says though he misses his family, Vermont is beginning to feel like home.

"This was my first birthday in the United States," Abdi said, holding up a picture of his first birthday party in Vermont. "So this is my new life-- the beginning of my new life."

For Abdi, it was a picture of new friends and a symbol of a new life.

Most of the work done by the Vermont Refugee Resettlement program is through the help of volunteers and donations.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • People's United: Retirement Plan Updates

    People's United: Retirement Plan Updates

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-04-24 11:45:35 GMT
    The Internal Revenue Service is requiring companies to update their retirement plan documents.More >>
    The Internal Revenue Service is requiring companies to update their retirement plan documents.More >>
  • Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:43:47 GMT
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:04 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
  • Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:21 GMT
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
  • A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:36 GMT
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
  • Gun fired into New Haven home

    Gun fired into New Haven home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:48 GMT
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
  • What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:57:35 GMT
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
  • Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in connection with a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.