The Kansas City area is home to three agencies that work with the federal government to resettle people displaced from their home countries by war, conflict and persecution. Those agencies — Jewish Vocational Services, Della Lamb Community Services and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas — welcome enough people to make refugee families a presence in the metro.
While not all resettled refugees find their way to a college campus, educators say those who do are highly motivated.
“They are the hardest-working people you will ever meet,” says instructor Ashley Lynd, who teaches English as a Second Language at Penn Valley Community College. “They face every obstacle under the sun, but they are more positive than most Americans, including myself.”
As KCUR discovered in a months-long reporting project, the challenges that refugee students confront are similar, but their lives and stories are vastly different.
Listen to the story of former refugee Souleymane Adam:
Barbara Shelly is a freelance contributor for KCUR 89.3. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.