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Refugees In Puget Sound: Navigating A New Home In The Northwest

Liz Peter, a refugee from South Sudan, with maps of Washington state and Sudan.

Liz Peter is a 19–year–old refugee originally from South Sudan. Her story is presented in "Children Of Refugees." Photo by Chantal Anderson and maps courtesy of Wikipedia.

Washington is the 13th most populated state, but is the 8th highest receiver of refugees in the country. Refugees come to Washington from all over the world, but the largest groups come from Burma, Iraq, Bhutan and Somalia. In this four–part radio series, Jessica Partnow explores the refugee experience in Puget Sound.

The series opens in Little Mogadishu, a Tukwila neighborhood that is changing fast. Next, we find ourselves at Sea–Tac airport, a major employer of refugees and new immigrants. In "Life After War" we follow two Iraqi refugees as they both struggle to recover from PTSD. Our final segment follows Liz Peter, a 19–year–old refugee from South Sudan as she works to put herself — and her seven younger brothers and sisters — through college.

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Trudy's Tavern, near the heart of Little Mogadishu. Photo by Alex Stonehill.

Little Mogadishu

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

King County is home to one of the country's largest populations of Somalis. They've been fleeing since the Somali government collapsed in 1991. The community is concentrated around the Tukwila light–rail station in an area that's sometimes known as Little Mogadishu.

Airport Jobs Center. Photo by Alex Stonehill.

Starting Over At Sea-Tac

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New refugees have to juggle a lot. There's finding housing, getting kids enrolled in school; often there's learning English. And there's finding a job. Many refugees look to the airport — one of the state's largest employers — to find work.

One of the threat letters Amer Kuba received in Baghdad. Photo by Jessica Partnow.

Life After War

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Refugees coming to the US have just a few months to find a job and a place to live. And they are 10 times as likely as the general population to suffer from post–traumatic stress disorder. In this story, Iraqi refugees talk about recovering from life in a war zone.

Siblings of Liz Peter. Photo by Chantal Anderson.

Children Of Refugees

Friday, January 20, 2012

Once a refugee family has been here for a while, the children often become ambassadors to the outside world. It's the kids who have to translate for their parents and deal with all the bureaucracy of life, from hospitals to schools to immigration offices.

Special Thanks

"Refugees In Puget Sound" was funded by the KUOW Program Venture Fund. Contributors include Paul and Laurie Ahern and Puget Sound Energy.