New Roots in Wichita
When refugees arrive in the United States, they have often left everything familiar behind. The IRC’s New Roots program helps bring refugees together to share experiences and make connections to their new homes. For the IRC in Wichita, it started with one family’s desire to not only stretch their dollars, but to assist their neighbors and other refugees in doing the same- but what they got was so much more.
Kefah, a refugee from Iraq who has been in the United States for just over a year, had very little space to transform into a garden at her home, but a big desire to do so. So her next trip to the market consisted of purchasing seeds, rather than more food. “My husband and I knew that it would be helpful for our future.” The garden now takes up every inch of outdoor space that they possess. “We just keep growing new things,” says Kefah.
Through gardening, Kefah and her husband Mustafa have been able to not only secure a more financially stable home for their family, but have also turned what were once mere neighbors into close friends, feeling a sense of camaraderie and more connected to their new community than ever before.
Kefah often hosts dinners in her home, providing meals that are primarily from the community garden. “Instead of buying all the food from the market for our friends, we buy maybe half, and the other half comes from the garden,” states Kefah. “When you are feeding lots of friends, that adds up fast,” added her husband, Mustafa.
New Roots is about healthy families, secure communities and a more sustainable future. It’s about dignity, determination and the boundless possibility of human connection. And it’s about the power of people to heal and nurture positive change from the ground up.
For more information on programs at the IRC in Wichita, contact 316-351-5495.