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A Chicago Welcome to World Refugee Day

Cities throughout the world celebrated World Refugee Day over one weekend in mid-June. …We tell the stories of 14 of them – Iraqi, Burmese, Bhutanese, Iranian and Somali – who now live and make ends meet in Chicago.

Story Locator

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Scarred for life: A passport to stories

When she recounted the night she hid in a bedroom waiting to escape, I was captivated. When she explained how the family left their house under the pretense that they were going on vacation, I was in awe.

The Migration
Danche Ivanovic: Preserving Yugoslavian culture in three pieces of wood

The opportunity to escape war-torn Yugoslavia came through Danche Ivanovic’s son, who at 11 was the youngest guitar player to ever be admitted to the Mozarteum in Austria.

Culture Shock
One small finger at a time

Given her background it is safe to assume she never pictured her first apartment would be shared with three African-American girls. I likewise never could have guessed I’d be sharing an apartment with someone from as far away as Dubai.

Learning the Language
Numerical communication: An escape from hot potato

I knew Emily was nervous. As she approached me, the incredulous fear in her 5-year-old eyes stared me in the…

Work, Jobs and Money
Ethel Benigno

Ethel Benigno immigrated to Chicago from Manila, Philippines in July 2009, to get to know a man whom she hadn’t…

Problems with Papers
Two Indian communities join to take on the U.S. Census

The Indo-American Center just off Devon Avenue has been ready for the 2010 U.S. Census for months, not wanting to…

Family
Generators, books and a changing life

Mansoor immerses himself in literature, a passion that he has not lost in the shuffle of life. His personal library was vast and every Friday he would head to a book market on Al Mutanabi Street.

Fearing the Law
Love knows no boundaries–but U.S. immigration laws

“What we didn’t realize–and they don’t tell you this until you have had a bad experience–once you have a visa you really should stay put because every time you cross the border they don’t necessarily have to let you back in the country.”

Identity
Dual citizenship for Lithuanians not for everyone

“It doesn’t make sense,” Adomas Siudika says. “Older people can have this right to vote even though they grew up in America, but for people like me, who lived [in Lithuania] my whole life and speak the language, but now live in America and would like to vote here but can’t without giving up my Lithuanian identity – it’s absolutely absurd. Legally, philosophically. It’s not acceptable.”

Good Question
What type of financial assistance are refugees entitled to?

Akol was unaware of complexities that came with obtaining the luxuries he desired in Sudan and Kenya that in the U.S. were the basic staples of daily life.

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