According to this San Diego Union-Tribune article, San Diego County resettles more refugees than any other county in California, averaging around 3,000 people per year. A refugee is someone who is in a new country because of persecution in their home country, whether that be political, racial, religious persecution, or because of war. For decades San Diego has welcomed families from Vietnam, Iraq, Myanmar (Burma), Somalia, Iran, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Laos, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Nigeria, Bhutan, Syria, and the list goes on and on.

Sometimes these families have experienced loss of other family members, loss of their home and belongings, loss of a previous occupation, and in a way, loss of their previous identity. They may have spent years waiting in difficult conditions in a refugee camp hoping for the chance to start a new life somewhere. But starting over is not easy.

Imagine being middle-aged and needing to learn a new language and find a new career to support your family. Imagine being pregnant and having no idea how the hospital system works and having to communicate with doctors. Imagine being a child and feeling constantly behind in school. Imagine being a mom and wanting to parent your child in the same ways you were parented but suddenly that seems culturally inappropriate. Imagine having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while trying to support your family in all of this transition. Yes, there are great organizations and people helping refugees here in San Diego, but the reality is that being a refugee isn't easy.

 *A map of San Diego below, with City Heights at the center of refugee resettlement