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Episcopal Migration Ministries Shares Refugee Stories for World Refugee Day on June 20

June 18, 2010

In observance of World Refugee Day on June 20, Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) is offering web-based resources and videos that movingly tell the stories of refugees who seek a new start, a new home, and a new life.

Sunday, June 20, is World Refugee Day, designated by the United Nations and observed by refugee advocates across the country as an opportunity to lift up the concerns of uprooted people all over the world.

"World Refugee Day provides a context for highlighting the accomplishments these sojourners have achieved and the transformational impact their vitality and ambition have had on their new communities," commented Deborah Stein, EMM director.

To commemorate World Refugee Day, EMM, in conjunction with the Episcopal Church Office of Communication, has produced a series of short videos chronicling the inspiring stories of some of the many individuals EMM serves.

Other World Refugee Day resources include a prayer as well as links to bulletin inserts and other refugee resettlement websites. The videos and resources are available online on a special World Refugee Day page: .

The Videos

The videos offer a window into the lives of many people engaged in and affected by EMM"s work, from a Burmese caseworker with words of courage, to a refugee family from Bhutan taking their first steps on American soil.

"Refugees arriving in the US are by definition survivors, having overcome persecution, injustice and war to strive for a hopeful new beginning," Stein explained.

One video chronicles the initial experiences of a Nepalese family from their arrival at a Louisville airport to getting their first tour of their new home. While some volunteers met them at the airport, others prepared their house to "make it look like home."

Another module depicts Thlasui "Sui" Tluangneh, a poet who fled the military regime in Burma and now works as a refugee caseworker in Indianapolis. He reflects on his experiences in the telling of the poignant story of his poem "Mr. One and Mr. Zero."

The viewer also meets Poku, a Burmese man who first went to a refugee camp in Thailand as a 7-year-old and lived there for 20 years. Although he grew to be a leader and a liaison in the camp, he had no rights and no livelihood.

Elias Kasongo is employed by Eli"s Cheesecake Company in Chicago, and the video depicts his work and his efforts for an education as well as the company"s welcome and encouragement in the advancement of their refugee workforce.

DC Rally

On Tuesday, June 22, EMM and the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations will join a coalition of faith and community groups in Washington, DC, to urge Congress to pass needed reforms to the nation"s refugee program. Organized by Refugee Council USA, EMM staff members will join other refugee agency executives and faith leaders in visiting members of Congress.


The Episcopal Church has been extending welcome and support to the uprooted for over 70 years. Since 1988, EMM has assisted thousands of refugees – nearly 5,000 in 2009 – to resettle in cities across our nation.

Episcopal Migration Ministries:

The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The Episcopal Church:





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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer