The city of Boise is a welcoming community made up of a beautifully diverse population. For years, it has served as a safe harbor for refugees, not only as a destination on their long journey to find asylum, but also as a place to call home. The process of resettling in a new country is difficult and involves culture shock, learning a new language, and redefining your entire life.
The stories of the members of our community that have come here as refugees are important and deserve to be voiced. Whether they can tell their story in English, or with the help of a translator, we are here to listen to their stories in their purest forms.
“The level of help was something that we never thought or dreamed of. I can’t say one thing that we are short of - the comfort and the peace of it - and the people of this state make us comfortable, we don’t feel like we want to go anywhere else or move anywhere else. Idaho is home.” - Masooma, Agency for New Americans Client
New Americans resettling into the state of Idaho undergo a tremendous journey before their feet first touch the soil of this beautiful state. A whirlwind of appointments, paperwork, and traveling bring them to a peaceful, but unfamiliar, world, full of many more new challenges to overcome. Idaho’s community is full of networks of partnerships in support of these individuals undergoing extreme periods of transition, and we are grateful to be a part of the resettlement process of new Americans in Idaho.
Eleven women from Agency for New Americans (ANA) graciously took the time to share their experiences resettling into Idaho during ANA’s weekly women’s group meetings. Women’s Group provides attendees opportunities to draw on the strength of other women in an inclusive atmosphere of community building, mutual support, and empowerment. In the spirit of the theme of Idaho Gives 2022, we asked each of the women what Idaho has given them since their arrival, and in turn what they hope to someday give back to Idaho given the opportunity.
The History of 1614 W. Jefferson St.
their doors. We do not want to be next. You can donate on our website or mail your contribution to ANA at Jannus, 1614 W. Jefferson Street, Boise, 83702.
According to Refugees Welcome, there are 60 million refugees throughout the world, and many more people will flee violence, persecution, and conflict in the coming years. Unfortunately, there are limits on the number of refugees allowed in particular cities, states, and countries.
The cap on foreign-born refugees in the U.S. was 45,000 in 2018, and the cap will dip to 30,000 in 2019, Reuters reports. But some U.S. states are already seeing a smaller influx of refugees following widespread regulations put in place in early 2017.
In Idaho, refugee numbers have dropped significantly in recent years. The Idaho Statesman reports that 628 refugees resettled in the state in 2017, down from 1,135 in 2016.
Why Do Refugees Come to America?
Everyone deserves to live in a place free from persecution, violence, and tyranny. Imagine how you would feel if the area where you live was in constant disarray. Wouldn't you want to have the chance for a better life?
Due to hazardous conditions and life-threatening situations in their homeland, they are forced to flee. America offers a safe and accepting environment for refugees to live a more comfortable life. However, America is a union of states, and some states are more apt to open their borders than others.
Since the presidential election of 2016, there have been significant cuts to the refugee admissions ceiling. This year, the administration seems inclined to continue this trend, likely lowering the limit to a historically low 25,000. With ongoing humanitarian crises all over the world, this is devastating news.
The administration’s intentions to limit immigrants coming into the United States seems to be based on xenophobia, with travel bans on most Middle Eastern countries, and enforcing strict immigration laws on the border with Mexico.
When Cheryl Buchta went to the post office two years ago, she encountered some people asking her to sign a petition to stop refugees from coming into Idaho. It was around the time there were terrorist attacks in Paris.
At that time, she didn’t know much about refugees, but she knew she had to do something. Later that day, she went home and Googled refugees in Boise and found the Agency for New Americans. She got in contact with the volunteer coordinator and started the process of becoming a volunteer.
My parents left Bhutan before I was born due to lack of religious freedom and heavy violence.
They entered Nepal with the help of UNHCR and were given temporary tent to stay near a famous river called Kankai.
I was born and raised in Nepal for 16 years.
Now, I am finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at Boise State University.
Refugee Arrivals in Idaho
There has been a lot of talk about refugees coming into the United States lately, but it can be hard to find out just how many. The numbers of incoming refugees in Idaho have seen significant reductions lately, going from 1,147 from 2015-2016 to just about half from 2016-2017. Still, with the recent reduction of refugees allowed in the country, Idaho takes in a significant number of refugees coming to the United States. Here is the breakdown of refugee arrivals in Idaho, according to the Idaho Office for Refugees.
My Name is Bahar
My name is Bahar. I am from Afghanistan. I like photography, traveling, and cooking. My goals is to use my cooking skills to open an Afghan/Turkish cafe by the end of 2018.
And this is my story.
Shafi and Ramisa
Shafi and Ramisa are from Parwan, Afghanistan. They obtained a Visa to come to the United States in 2015 and were relocated to Boise. They have two daughters, Afsana, who is five years old, and Neda who is two.
They would like the Boise community know the following:
“The only thing that will help our community grow is learning from each other.”
I left my home due to security situation in the country
after they breaked into our home and
killed my dad along with my aunt at night.
As everyone one fled into his own direction,
I had no choice than to flee to Uganda by
walking at night, hiding by day.
I arrived in Boise in September 1, 2016. The very first time I stepped on American soil in Houston where the plane dropped me, I was like "Oooh my God, am I the one or someone else"
I remembered how I escaped death and 10 years in the refugee camp.Then from the camp to America I was full of joy seeing how I no longer live in fear of being harmed.