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KRM Hosts Second World Refugee Day Summit

Kentucky Refugee Minsitries

Kentucky Refugee Ministries held its second-annual World Refugee Day Summit in Lexington’s Central Library Thursday.      

The all day conference served as a way to raise awareness about the displaced peoples that KRM resettles in the United States.  Sessions focused on topics such as the conditions in overseas camps, the medical screening that refugees undergo, and different government services that can help them when they reach the United States.  KRM Lexington Director Barbara Kleine says while the experience is difficult, many persevere. 

“There’s a lot of struggles, especially when you deal with language, cultural changes, but most of our refugees do amazingly well and really prove to be very resilient, courageous, hardworking people,” she said.

The final event featured a panel of KRM clients who discussed their transition and current life in the United States.  Nicole Tshibangu (pronounced chee-bahn-goo), a citizen of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said the transition was challenging, but made easier by a large local community. 

“As you are coming here in the United States, you find people that speak your language, and people that look like you and have the same culture like you, that is so helpful, there’s a very large Congolese community here in Lexington,” she said. 

Other local communities include refugees from Iraq and Bhutan.  KRM resettled 280 people in the last fiscal year, and expects many more.   

Chase Cavanaugh first got on the air as a volunteer reader for Central Kentucky Radio Eye, a local news service for the visually impaired. He began reporting for WUKY in February 2012, after receiving his Master’s degree from the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce.