Now More than Ever: Upcoming Events on the Refugee Crisis

The change in Administration in Washington, DC cannot change the facts about the worldwide refugee crisis, and it is growing worse. As a major center for refugee settlement, Houston still has a role to play in both aiding refugees at home and abroad, and educating the public on the real details of refugees’ lives, desires, talents, and needs. So we welcome you to two events coming up April 6 and 12 and that focus on refugees in Jordan and here in Houston. These events have been organized by UH students, and are a testament to the conviction and activism of our student body in the face of this unprecedented crisis. By attending these events, you will not only learn, but materially aid the communities concerns.  — Richard Armstrong

Thursday April 6, 2017  4pm Honors Commons

Refu-tea with Sareema Adnan

When you hear the words “Syrian refugee crisis,” what comes to mind? Masses of people fleeing on foot, destroyed neighborhoods, closed borders, political disagreements, bombings…and that’s usually how the impact of the crisis on civilians is described. There is a focus on the larger picture and the statistics, while the human impact is forgotten.

How often do we get to hear the individual voices of those who are fleeing these conflicts? Let’s take a look beyond the numbers: What was life like before the war? What are the uprooted families concerned about? What does daily life look like now? What do they want you to do?

Last summer, a group of students travelled with Helping Hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) to assist in humanitarian efforts in Jordan. While on the trip, the group spoke with many refugee families about their lives in Syria before the war began, and what their current conditions are like.

On April 6th, come hear what these families want the world to know and how you can help. Join Sareema Adnan, a UH alumna and current UTMB medical student, who will be telling the powerful stories shared by the refugee families she met while she was in Jordan.

Why “Refu-tea?”

Good question. One aspect that stuck with Sareema after her trip was the hospitality of every refugee family she met. Despite their financial struggles, each family would always offer tea. Even when the volunteers insisted that there was no need for such a formality, the families would not have it. If you entered their home, not only were you their guest, but also a part of the family. Leaving without a cup of tea just wasn’t an option.

Join us for tea as we share the stories that these families want you to know.

All the proceeds from the sale of tea and baklava will go towards Helping Hand for Relief and Development to help them continue their humanitarian efforts.

April 12 Rockwell Pavilion, 2-5pm (Exhibition), with speakers 3:30-4:30pm

“From the Hands of a Refugee”

The Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees (PAIR) is a grassroots Houston organization that was founded more than a decade ago to empower refugee youth to navigate American society, reach their academic potential, and become community leaders.  PAIR officers and volunteers not only work with refugee youth in weekly afterschool programs in more than five different HISD schools, but we are also devoted to raising awareness for refugees and to doing away with the various myths and misinformation that surround this disadvantaged community.

The PAIR-UH chapter is organizing an event titled “From the Hands of a Refugee” on April 12th at the Rockwell Pavilion in the MD Anderson Library. Held in collaboration with the Houston organization, The Community Cloth, the event will showcase different artworks and crafts created by refugee artisans living in the city of Houston. During the event, we will hear from representatives from The Community Cloth as they detail their work in empowering female refugee artisans, and also from the refugee artisans themselves as they discuss their new lives in America.

In times where refugees are so vastly misunderstood and incorrectly portrayed by the media, various government figures, and political pundits, “From the Hands of a Refugee” will shed light on the simple humanity of refugees and allow the UH student community to see the refugee community as productive members of American society who can contribute to and enrich our lives. By understanding that refugees are people just like you and me, members of the UH community at the event will walk away with a renewed comprehension of the pressing issue of the refugee crisis and a reinvigorated fervor to stand up for what is just and morally right as residents of one of the most diverse and accepting cities in the United States.


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