This past Wednesday, April 17th at the Guilford Undergraduate Symposium, four students in PPS 250: Every Campus a Refuge II presented on their class projects. The goal of the project was to create something helpful for the refugee families hosted at Guilford College and the organization as a whole.
Sophomore Ree Ree Wei (who is minoring in ECAR) presented on her short documentary. She stressed that she wanted to create a platform for actual refugees to share their stories in their own voices. Her documentary was of an interview with a refugee from Myanmar. One of the key points the interviewee discussed was the struggle that comes with lack of citizenship and documentation in refugee camps. This very issue did not allow him to attend college. Wei stressed that the three month period that refugees are expected to get acclimated to a new culture should be at least a year long. She talked about language barriers and the physical and mental health needs that require more time to be addressed.
Wei expressed that she would like this to be an ongoing project where she or other volunteers interview multiple families and potentially come back years later to see how things have changed. The stories may be posted on the ECAR website in a series of documentaries. She argued that all refugee stories deserve to be heard.
Angela Morrow, who is minoring in ECAR, presented on her fundraising efforts. She reached out to many local businesses and raised awareness about refugee resettlement needs along the way. She reported that many did not know about the refugee crisis and did not realize that refugees give more to their communities than their communities give to them.
Along with vendors she had recruited, Angela tabled at Lake Fest, an event at Guilford College’s Serendipity. Vendors sold jewelry, lemonade, sunglasses, and more. She has plans to fundraise with Knickerbockers, a photography fundraising company that specializes in old fashioned portraits. The fundraiser should take place in May. She also will be having a Krispy Kreme fundraiser during finals week for hungry and studious students.
Senior Robin Bigaj and freshman Bree Diakite worked together to create an information booklet for pregnant people to be paired with a “toolkit” and left at the ECAR house (the house on Guilford’s campus where our guests live when they first arrive in the United States). Bigaj and Diakite conducted interviews with ECAR guests that have been pregnant and/or given birth since their arrival in the U.S. The interviewees highlighted challenges with miscommunication from language barriers and a lack of cultural sensitivity from healthcare providers. The booklet has resources and instructions on what to expect from the U.S. healthcare system. Diakite translated the booklet into French and is working on getting it translated into Arabic and Swahili in order to accommodate hosted guests. The toolkit will have diapers, baby food, sanitary napkins and more.
Each student took their passions and skills and created projects that will help ECAR and its guests for years to come.