Refugees

Idaho Education News

Some anecdotes are harrowing.

A few years ago, refugee students were encouraged to take part in a quilting project, creating a square depicting their home country. Aiham Taliv, a refugee from Iraq, prepared an illustration of his village — while, overhead, a helicopter opened fire. The quilt, including Taliv’s illustration, went on public display.

“We’re wanting (the community) to understand what their kids’ lives were like. … But it’s also a healing process for these kids,” said Bill Brulotte, the local school district’s federal programs director.

Idaho Education News

Twin Falls’ refugee program brings together students from diverse backgrounds. It does the same with teachers.

The district’s co-teaching model groups “the content police and the language police,” said Kimberly Allen, an instructional coach at Twin Falls’ Canyon Ridge High School. A subject expert — such as a math teacher — works alongside a colleague who specializes in working with English language learners.

“We’ve jokingly called them arranged marriages,” said Allen.

Idaho Education News

In terms of geography and culture, Twin Falls can scarcely be farther removed from Afghanistan or Iran, Burma or Nepal.

Yet in schools such as Twin Falls’ Lincoln Elementary School, in a portable building abutting a blacktop playground, newly arrived refugee students begin their long and stark transition to American schools.

Idaho Education News

Some refugee students at Boise’s Hillside Junior High School remember the schools in their homelands — where teachers hit their students, or where teachers feared being hit by students.

Then there are the refugee students who have spent little time in any classroom.

“You have to learn how to be a student,” said Rita Hogan, a teacher in Boise’s English Language Development program. “And that’s tough, when you’re a seventh-grader, and you’re learning algebra.”

Angie Smith

Los Angeles-based photographer Angie Smith first became curious about Idaho’s refugee population five years ago during visits with her family in Boise.

“I wondered why are they coming to Idaho," says Smith, "how do they get here, what are their lives like once they have arrived and are in the resettlement process. I just had a lot of questions.”

One Boise International Market Business Reopens Solo

Apr 14, 2016
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

We introduced you to Kutukira Mberwa about a year ago when the Boise International Market was celebrating its grand opening.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

An initiative that would halt the refugee resettlement program in Twin Falls did not receive enough signatures to get on the ballot in November.

Supporters of the measure needed nearly 4,000 signatures to put it on the ballot in Twin Falls County. According to the recorder’s office, fewer than one thousand signatures were turned in by Monday's 5:00 p.m. deadline.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise International Market had been operating less than a year when it burned down in September. Since the fire, people have been asking if the popular destination for food, imports and culture would be rebuilt. We still don’t know the answer to that, but we do know something similar is on the way.

Kathrine Jones / Idaho Staesman

A Spokane pastor was in Boise last week to warn Idaho lawmakers that refugees pose a security threat to the United States. That’s a position some Idaho lawmakers already hold and the issue may come up in the current legislative session.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Nearly 200 people at the Idaho Capitol Thursday night listened to speeches from an anti-Islamic preacher and a member of a right-wing, national security advocacy group. The topic was refugee resettlement.

Before the speeches, about 100 people lined the marble hallway to the Capitol’s largest public meeting room. They held signs reading things like “Idaho is too great for hate.” Kristin Ruether’s sign said, “refugees welcome” in English and Arabic.

Being a Muslim In Idaho During a Time of Backlash

Jan 14, 2016
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

It has not been an easy past few months to be a Muslim in America. After the Paris attacks, presidential candidate Donald Trump said there should be a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country. His polls immediately soared. In Boise, the Islamic Center says the Muslim population in the Treasure Valley may well be over ten thousand.  Now, some of Boise's Muslims are sharing how it feels to be a Muslim in the current political climate. 

tilproject.com

Idaho lawmakers Thursday evening are invited to a presentation by an anti-Islamic preacher and an anti-immigration advocate. The speakers will be in the Capitol’s largest public meeting room, the Lincoln Auditorium.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

In 2015, nearly 730,000 foreign-born people took the oath to become U.S. citizens. That included 1,449 in Idaho. Thursday more joined them in Idaho’s first naturalization ceremony of the year.

Sometimes these ceremonies are done with a lot of pomp at public events like 4th of July celebrations. This one is in the waiting room of a federal office, the kind of place where most days people take a number and wait to talk to someone through a window.

Courtesy Courtney Wyatt

At the Boise Bike Project Saturday children will be getting free bicycles. That’s not unusual, that’s what the Bike Project does. But this time some of the kids getting the bikes were passengers in a car that hit - and severely injured - a boy only five-years old. And it was the mother of that boy who asked that these kids get bikes.

Here’s the part you may have heard about. This past September a 5-year-old Boise boy named Maximo was riding his bike home from kindergarten with his dad when he was hit by a minivan.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise International Market burned down in September, putting its business owners out of work. This weekend, a handful of those - mostly refugee - entrepreneurs started back up in a temporary location for the holiday season.

Trailhead in downtown Boise is in a pretty good location for restaurants and retail. It isn’t designed for either, though. Trailhead is a business incubator.

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