Karen refugee and mother learns to balance two cultures

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By Molly Chapple Awi Khan Nuam says her role as a mother is a careful balancing act as she raises four sons in a completely new and vastly different culture. But it’s working so far, says Awi Khan Nuam, a Karen refugee who has been in the United States since 2008. She says she is >

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Arabic Conversation Tables provide perspective and debunk stereotypes

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By Layla Younis Several weeks ago, Paige DeDecker joined 10 other University of Nebraska-Lincoln students at the Arabic Conversation Tables to watch a documentary about Mandaeism, a minority religion practiced in the Middle East. DeDecker, who grew up in a small town — Flower Mound, Texas — said she attends the weekly conversation tables to >

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Program helps inspire refugee to tackle dream career in childhood home

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By Lindsay Esparrago During her four years at Lincoln High School, Moo Ku Taw went from feeling like an outsider — incapable of fitting in — to a confident, soon-to-be graduate. “During my first few weeks in school, I felt like an alien from another planet,” Taw said. “Not being able to speak English, I felt >

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Iraq refugee helps students build friendships with high school club

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By Alexa West The first several years Raghad Alshammary spent in the United States were not easy. As a refugee from Baghdad, Iraq, she experienced bullying, difficulty with language barriers and cultural differences. These tribulations inspired the 17-year-old to help other multicultural students by creating the International Students Club at North Star High School. With >

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New Omaha arts program provides refugees with a creative outlet

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By Ashley Wolff Eh Paw sits on the floor of a classroom at the Refugee Empowerment Center in Omaha and weaves a scarf. She concentrates on the ins and outs of the yarn on the homemade back-strap loom. “I want to tell my people’s story,” said Paw, who learned how to weave in the Umphiem >

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Yazidi teen aspires to help community as a Lincoln police officer

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By Josh Kelly In Sheikhan, Iraq, police officers are only found at checkpoints surrounding the city. If a criminal can drive or run fast enough, they can usually get away — unpunished. Diana Elias didn’t like that. When she came to the United States in 2010 as a 13-year-old and saw police officers out in >

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Omaha refugee center’s resettlement program sees growth, change

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By Elizabeth Moran  The new program director of resettlement and integration at Omaha’s Refugee Empowerment Center is ready for the challenge of increasing resettlement numbers and overseeing a growing staff. The center adopted a new name, developed a new brand and refined its mission in 2015. For the center’s resettlement and placement program, that means >

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Newlyweds not as concerned with older generation’s political conflicts

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By Layla Younis Galina Martynyuk grew up hearing her Ukrainian grandmother talk disparagingly about Russians. Her grandmother would say things like “Russians stole this or that from us,” and “If a Russian and Ukraine got married, then the dominant language will be Russian.”  “Growing up, I always thought, never would I ever marry a Russian >

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An unlikely love story: Refugee couple balances two cultures in a new one

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By Lindsay Esparrago The day Darwood Suleiman met Nidia Morales was the day optimism met practicality. It was the day a soldier met a baker. A Muslim met a Mormon. The day opposite ends of the world came together. Suleiman, who is from Iraq, and Morales, from Guatemala, found themselves — and each other — in Lincoln. >

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Lincoln Unites! event to celebrate the Capital City’s diverse community

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Updated at at 3:52 p.m., April 29: Because of weather, the festival has been moved indoors to the Bourbon Theatre, 1415 O St. The citizenship ceremony will be held at 10:45 a.m. at the Van Brunt Visitors Center, 313 N. 13th St. By Nicole Rauner How well do you know your neighbors? “A lot of >

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UNL’s Define American organization focuses on immigration and identity

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By Ashley Wolff At the age of 12, Jessica Hughes lost the two most important people in her life when her father was deported to his home country of Mexico and her mother left shortly after to join him. Jessica was raised by her grandmother in Grand Island, Nebraska. Now a student at the University >

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Women unite at annual Omaha International Women’s Day event

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By Elizabeth Moran Christine Ross’ passion for women’s rights and support for other women began during her stay in a refugee camp in Kenya. Ross, a South Sudanese refugee, spent her time in the refugee camp talking with many women and forging relationships in three different camps. United Nations officials noticed her efforts and asked >

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UNL Bosnian refugee balances two cultures, different worlds

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By Michaela Noble Almedina Bajric was six when she first noticed she was different. She remembers two Mormon men visiting her house in Crete, Nebraska, presumably to share a religious message. And she remembers not being able to speak to them. At that age, she explained, the concept of language didn’t really make sense. “You >

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LPS funds to provide mental health care for refugee students

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By Molly Chapple Thousands of Yazidis found themselves stranded on a mountain top in Sinjar, Iraq, in August 2014 faced with two choices: descend and risk being killed by Sunni extremists or stay and risk death by hunger or thirst. This was the terrifying situation that many of the minority sect faced until an American >

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Highly skilled refugees face hurdles to practice former professions

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By Justin Perkins It was just after 1 in the afternoon on a Monday, and a steady procession of people and carpools began flowing in and around the Center for People in Need at 3901 N. 27th St. While some arrived to attend ELL classes, and some left toting needed supplies of food and hygiene >

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Prevention is key topic in new health courses for Nebraska’s refugees

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By Flora Zempleni Prevention. That’s the most important part of the health courses that are a part of the new Refugee Support Program, developed by Lutheran Family Services through collaboration with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Southeast Community College ESL courses. Lea Sheets, a refugee support program coordinator at Lutheran Family Services, said >

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Lincoln volunteers work for weeks to prepare for new arrivals’ fresh start

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By Sophia Tatum It was a sunny, brisk Friday afternoon in October—about 3 o’clock, that time in the afternoon when most people working or going to school are starting to think about their weekend plans. A local group of volunteers standing outside the food court at the Lincoln, Nebraska, Airport were doing the same. However, >

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Strength of heart: Young refugee finds that for him it’s like father, like son

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By Megan McGill Bucm Icaac (strength of heart) In Omaha, Nebraska, David Dep stands in a room full of people.  It’s full of his family and friends and the people closest to him.  It’s not a happy occasion.  The room is filled with tears, mourning and shock. Everyone is distraught, everyone except David. In a >

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Encounter with resettled refugees leads to changed lives all around

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By Megan McGill Rochelle Heimann sits at her cubicle on the fourth floor of Center Mall in Omaha.  She’s been here for only a year.  This office looks very different than the one she had for the previous 10 years. This cubicle doesn’t have an adjustable chair, a sink or any hair products.  The floors >

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When Karen refugees came to Lincoln, they brought a game with them

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By Kollin Miller School has just let out all around Lincoln. Children of all ages are beginning to gather for afternoon games. Games of football, basketball and soccer are played across the city. But behind an apartment complex to the south of Lincoln High School, a different game is played. A ball pops over the >

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Mosaic graphic: Where Nebraska’s refugees have been coming from

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By Sophia Tatum Mass numbers of people around the world are being forced to leave their homes because of unrest in their native countries, so many governments—including the United States—willingly take in these men, women and children who are faced with imminent threats and help them rebuild a new life far away from any danger. >

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Omaha neighborhood association battles to keep its community center

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By Jeff Renken For the past 16 years, the Gifford Park Neighborhood Association has battled Omaha Public Schools to get an elementary school back in the neighborhood. Now in an unfortunate way, their wish might come true. The Yates Community Center lives up to its name by offering a wide range of services to the >

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Yazidis in Lincoln start advocacy organization

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By Rhett Muller For the Yazidi people everything has meaning. From their religious beliefs to daily interactions, everything they do is to create a stronger community for their family and for Yazidis as a whole. With a quick Internet search, you will find a strong connection between Yazidis and Lincoln, Nebraska. Lincoln has one of

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Immigrant finds passion for helping others

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By Eric Bertrand Hugo Orellana has a passion for his work as a bilingual liaison for Lincoln Public Schools. Currently, he is responsible for 300 children enrolled in Lincoln high schools, but that number used to be 600. “For me, it’s fine,” he said. “I don’t see numbers, I see people.” Oscar Rios Pohirieth, a

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UNL panel: It’s not easy arriving as a refugee

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By Mara Klecker Her father got the call at 4 in the morning. It was July 2012, and he was in his home in Latakia, Syria. On other end was a member of the Islamic State. This was not the first foreboding phone call. Her father had been warned before. Earlier in the year, the

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Community

Nebraska Mosaic Scholarship offered for high school seniors

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Graduating seniors from Lincoln high schools are encouraged to apply for the Nebraska Mosaic Scholarship, offered by the Nebraska Mosaic project of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Nebraska Mosaic Scholarship, with generous funding from the Lincoln Community Foundation and the Knight Community Information Challenge, will provide a […]

April 14, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Contributors

Love of the land connects two families

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By Molly Chapple I have always been the kind of person who kicks my shoes off at the sight of green grass so I can run through it barefoot. As a child, I often retreated to the outdoors to think and find peace. My love of nature most likely comes from my ancestors and their […]

March 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Our Stories

Arriving with a physics degree, he starts over

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By Rhett Muller When Faris Pirali first started college at the University of Mosul in Iraq, he would have never guessed he would be starting completely over 13 years later in Lincoln, Nebraska. After graduating high school, Pirali began his college career in January 2003, majoring in physics. After one year he decided to leave […]

December 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Work

Pastor works to help diverse communities

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By Jeff Renken Father Vitalis Anyanike speaks quietly sitting behind the cluttered desk in the small office at the Holy Name Church’s rectory. Diplomas on one wall face a photo of his former Nigerian home on the other. It’s warm for a November morning in Omaha, yet Vitalis wears a wool top coat. He emigrated […]

December 7, 2015 at 11:59 am

Work

Pastor works to help diverse communities

Anyanike thumb

By Jeff Renken Father Vitalis Anyanike speaks quietly sitting behind the cluttered desk in the small office at the Holy Name Church’s rectory. Diplomas on one wall face a photo of his former Nigerian home on the other. It’s warm for a November morning in Omaha, yet Vitalis wears a wool top coat. He emigrated […]

December 7, 2015 at 11:59 am

Community

Nebraska Mosaic Scholarship offered for high school seniors

global-education

Graduating seniors from Lincoln high schools are encouraged to apply for the Nebraska Mosaic Scholarship, offered by the Nebraska Mosaic project of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The Nebraska Mosaic Scholarship, with generous funding from the Lincoln Community Foundation and the Knight Community Information Challenge, will provide a […]

April 14, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Contributors

Love of the land connects two families

Younis Self Portrait 2

By Molly Chapple I have always been the kind of person who kicks my shoes off at the sight of green grass so I can run through it barefoot. As a child, I often retreated to the outdoors to think and find peace. My love of nature most likely comes from my ancestors and their […]

March 6, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Our Stories

Arriving with a physics degree, he starts over

faris thumb

By Rhett Muller When Faris Pirali first started college at the University of Mosul in Iraq, he would have never guessed he would be starting completely over 13 years later in Lincoln, Nebraska. After graduating high school, Pirali began his college career in January 2003, majoring in physics. After one year he decided to leave […]

December 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm

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