LEWISTON — Organizers of World Refugee Day have announced a wide range of activities for Thursday, June 19, at Simard-Payne Memorial Park.

The evening will begin with a flag ceremony at 5 p.m. recognizing the 30 countries represented in the Lewiston-Auburn area. There will be opening remarks from Lewiston Mayor Robert MacDonald and Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau, and Auburn City Councilor James Pross.

In the park’s amphitheater refugees will share stories of their experiences through words and poems. There will be music, games for children, and food to sample from a wide range of cultures.

The L-A World Refugee Day is part of a global event celebrating and honoring the courage and struggles of the more than 15 million refugees worldwide displaced by war and persecution. Each year, Maine welcomes refugees and asylum-seekers from around the world and helps them safely rebuild their lives.

Lewiston-Auburn has become home to refugees and asylum-seekers from more than 12 countries, resulting in one of Maine’s most diverse communities.

For children, The Root Cellar will run “minute-to-win-it” challenges and soccer scrimmages on the field. There will also be face-painting, giant bubbles and L/A Arts will offer a Community Masterpiece art project for young artists to share. Arts and crafts for the adults will include henna tattoos, storytelling and quilt-making.

Authentic African crafts will be displayed. There will be cooking and basket-making demonstrations. Food samples will be offered for free from Angola, Burundi, Congo, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.

The centerpiece of World Refugee Day will be the refugee simulation “Far From Home” developed by the Auburn UU Theater. The outdoor interactive experience was designed to give participants a sense of the fear and uncertainty refugees face on the difficult journeys they take to reach their new homes.

“Far From Home” is based on Catholic Charities “In Their Shoes.”

“This will be our biggest and best event in honor of refugees worldwide, especially with the refugee simulation, which is quite an experience,” says Fatuma Hussein, executive director of Immigrant Resource Center of Maine.  The organizers are seeking in-kind and financial donations from business sponsors and individuals.

Contact [email protected] or make a donation online via www.LAWRD.org .  

https://tinyurl.com/ktuexp9 (this is the volunteer link)


The organizers and sponsors of World Refugee Day include Bates College, Catholic Charities Maine, the cities of Lewiston and Auburn, Community Concepts, Health Affiliates Maine, L/A Arts, Lewiston Public Schools, The Root Cellar, Spurwink Services and community members who donate their time and money.

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