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World Refugee Day celebration at Simard Payne Memorial Park

The event will feature music and performances, craft demos, food samples, activities for children, and Catholic Charities of Maine’s “Far from Home” refugee experience simulation.

This year’s Lewiston-Auburn World Refugee Day celebration will take place on Thursday, June 29, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Simard Payne Memorial Park at 46 Beech Street in Lewiston.

World Refugee Day is a global event celebrating and honoring the courage and struggles of the more than 15 million refugees worldwide who have been displaced by war and persecution. Each year, Maine welcomes refugees and asylum seekers from countries around the world and helps them safely rebuild their lives. Lewiston-Auburn has become home to refugees and asylum seekers from more than 12 countries, resulting in one of Maine’s most diverse communities.

In addition to performances, games, and music, this year’s L-A World Refugee Day celebration will include a job and resource fair and “Far from Home,” a refugee experience simulation devised by Catholic Charities of Maine to provide an interactive and dramatic simulation of a refugee’s path to resettlement in America.

Authentic African crafts will be displayed and there will be cooking and basket-making demonstrations. Free samples of traditional dishes from Angola, Burundi, Congo, Djibouti, Iraq, Jordan, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan will be offered. Activities for children will include “minute-to-win-it” challenges, soccer scrimmages, face-painting, giant bubbles, and a “Community Masterpiece” art project for young artists to share.

The event’s planning committee is chaired by Fatuma Hussein, Director of the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, and Joel Furrow, Director of The Root Cellar | Lewiston. Committee members represent the City of Auburn, Auburn UU Theater, Bates College, Catholic Charities, Community Concepts, the City of Lewiston, Health Affiliates, the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, the Root Cellar | Lewiston, Spurwink Services, L/A Arts and Lewiston Public Schools.

Organizers are seeking in-kind and financial donations from business sponsors and individuals. For more information about the event or how to sponsor, email laworldrefugeeday@gmail.com.

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