By Morgan Mattson 

Look into the lives of those living in refugee camps, former refugees’ lives, humanitarian workers, refugee children through films, podcasts, and books. Many resources are available to increase your awareness and to educate you on the refugee crisis the world has been facing for decades. Whether you want to read, watch, or listen to a story that is mostly fictional or want to recount the real-life story of refugees around the world, there are many options available for you. 

The Stories of Survival event hosted by Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc. in 2021 recounts the stories of 3 people who resettled in Nebraska as refugees. You hear first-hand what it is like to be forced from your home and seek refuge in another country. Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of Paul Rusesabinga, played by Don Cheadle, who risked his life to take in more than 1,000 refugees in 1994. You can join 4 Syrian women in Greece and discover their thoughts, memories, and dreams after resettling in Beirut in We Are Not Princesses. Perhaps a horror movie is more your style, follow a couple escaping war in Sudan to find an evil lurking in their new town in His House. These films and others are available for streaming online. To find our complete list of films and documentaries, check out the link below.  

Join Nadia Murad as she tells her story of growing up in a Yazidi village in northern Iraq, and how the Islamic State militants massacred her village. Nadia was taken and forced into ISIS slave trade, and after being repeatedly tortured, she managed to escape. Learn how she survives and shares her story with the world in her novel The Last Girl. Widad Akreyi shares a similar story in her memoir The Daughter of Kurdland where you will read of a young schoolgirl who defies Sadam Hussein and escapes genocide. In this novel, Akreyi makes us ask ourselves should we always do what others tell us to do? And how much of ourselves should we be willing to compromise? In The Displaced by Viet Than Nguyen, you will discover the stories of 17 refugees and their experiences fleeing persecution. This novel brings stories from Mexico, Bosnia, Soviet Ukraine, Hungary, Chile, Ethiopia, and other countries where people have been forced to leave. For a list of refugee novels, visit the link below.  

Each episode of the podcast Refugees at Work highlights the story of one refugee in the workplace. You will hear stories from refugees running their own businesses and working at leading companies. You will surely be inspired by their stories! Refugee Radio supports refugees, asylum seeks, and vulnerable migrants by running projects focused on mental health, social exclusion, and isolation. The U.N.C.H.R. staff interviews Humanitarian workers about the difficult and dangerous work they do in the podcast Awake at Night. In the six-part podcast series, Resettled, you will be sure to learn about the process of a family resettling in the U.S. NPR showcases stories of refugees as they adjust to their new lives and aim to bring the listener into the daily lives of refugees through interviews. For a list of refugee-centric podcasts, visit the link below.  

Whatever your preferred form of multi-media, you will be sure to find some interesting means to continue learning or relating to refugees from all over the world! Whether it be through settling in on the couch to enjoy a film, curling up in bed with a good book, or listening to a podcast on your morning drive, you can find a way to learn about and advocate for refugees around the world. For a full list of the films, books, and podcasts, we discussed, please visit the links below. If you have any you would like us to add, please e-mail or tag us on social media! And remember, today is the last day to post your Welcome Refugees sign! Perhaps you’d like to pair it with your favorite refugee-centered novel or movie! Please take what you’ve learned this week to provide a welcoming community for refugees in your area and for those who will be resettling here soon.  

To subscribe to Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, Inc.’s Refugee Services newsletter, please e-mail [email protected] with the subject line “Subscribe to Newsletter” and we will get you added to our list! Check out the first edition here: Refugee-Newsletter-may-2021-for-web.pdf (lfsneb.org). 

Thank you for taking the time this week to learn about all these incredible people and for taking action to help welcome refugees into your heart and our communities.  

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