More than 150 attend World Refugee Day Picnic in Bridgeport

In honor of World Refugee Day, Bridgeport-based Connecticut Institute of Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) and Fairfield-based Save the Children jointly hosted a picnic at Seaside Park to celebrate refugees in the local community and to demonstrate support for refugee protection and resettlement.

More than 150 people attended the event, including refugee families from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Eritrea who have been resettled in Fairfield County. Festivities included soccer matches and face painting, along with food cooked by refugee families. The event was attended by CIRI clients and staff members along with dozens of Save the Children employees.

Congressman Himes’ Office was represented by his Connecticut-based staff, and international Afro Dance-hall superstar and humanitarian Lamboginny led everyone in an inspiring singalong.

Each year, World Refugee Day honors the courage, strength, and determination of women, men, and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict, and violence. Their remarkable journeys are testament to the humanitarian importance of the refugee resettlement program, which truly does provide new opportunities and transforms lives.

Worldwide, a record number of children and families have been forced to flee war, violence and persecution, including more than 25 million refugees, more than half of whom are children.

“Today, on World Refugee Day, it is more important than ever to remember all children—yours, mine, refugee and migrant children—deserve safety, an education and a chance at a future,” said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. The global humanitarian organization has been helping refugees around the world for decades, providing necessities such as food and hygiene supplies, as well as psycho-social support to help refugee children overcome the trauma they’ve endured.

“In this immigration maelstrom, it is of the utmost importance to continue to speak out and to celebrate boldly our collective diversity,” said Claudia Connor, President & CEO of CIRI. “CIRI has upheld these values for the last 100 years and today, we celebrate our 8th annual World Refugee Day celebration in Bridgeport, bringing together a splendid community rich in its blending of culture, language, traditions. At CIRI, we applaud the strength and commitment of our Connecticut communities in celebrating this diversity.”

CIRI assists refugees with the process of rebuilding their lives in America, focusing on meeting the immediate basic needs of refugees upon arrival, as well as providing ongoing support for up to five years after arrival, assisting refugees on their individual pathways to self-reliance and to meaningful integration into their communities. Refugee Services include securing and furnishing apartments for newly arriving refugees, enrolling children in school, health and wellness case management, support for refugee children and youth, workforce readiness and employment support, facilitating enrollment in English as a Second Language classes, targeted mentorship and ESL tutoring.

Waze gets his face painted by Save the Children’s Luciana Bonifacio at the World Refugee Day picnic in Bridgeport. —Photo by Save the Children

Waze gets his face painted by Save the Children’s Luciana Bonifacio at the World Refugee Day picnic in Bridgeport. —Photo by Save the Children

Save the Children’s Angelica Cadavid sits with Adonay in a child friendly space at the World Refugee Day picnic. —Photo by Save the Children

Save the Children’s Angelica Cadavid sits with Adonay in a child friendly space at the World Refugee Day picnic. —Photo by Save the Children

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