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'Everybody has a different journey:' Idaho celebrates World Refugee day

Posted at 3:22 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 17:42:25-04

MAGIC VALLEY — After the pandemic caused it to go virtual last year, World Refugee Day is back to being in person in the Magic and Treasure Valley.

Since 1975 more than 13, 400 refugees have resettled in Idaho, according to the Idaho Office of Refugees. They also represent 46 countries and nearly 80 different languages.

“Everybody has a different journey but everybody who has come here as a refugee is escaping war or persecution and coming for the same reasons we all have here which is finding peace, having a safe home for your family, and finding freedom," Kara Fink, with the Idaho Office for Refugees, said.

This is one of the reasons why Joetta Julugbeh resettled in Idaho. Julugbeh was born in Liberia but because of ongoing wars, her family moved to Ivory Coast. At the age of 10, Julugbeh, her mother, and her siblings were resettled in Idaho.

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She says world refugee day is a chance for her to share her story and her culture.

“It’s big. It’s one of those things where it’s like we are recognized and the journey to get over here is not easy and them putting it together has allowed us all to be together," Julugbeh said.

Along with being Miss Africa Idaho 2019, Julugbeh is also one of the captains for the Makatas Dancers, an African dance group that has been performing during the World Refugee Day event for the last three years. But with the event being virtual last year, the performance looked a little different.

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“When Kara contacted me like hey world refugee day is still happening I literally jumped and when I told the dancers they all freaked because it's one of those things that they look forward to every year," Julugbeh said.

The international event has been celebrated since 2001. The Magic Valley celebration will have nine countries represented through food, dance, and culture.

Julugbeh says celebrating in person is important to share everybody's unique journey.

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“With everything that is going on and sometimes it’s hard as a black woman for people to see the good and world refugee day is one of those events where you see everyone together and it's exactly what it’s supposed to be like," Julugbeh said.

The Magic Valley event will take place tonight at 6 pm. The Treasure Valley event will take place on Saturday, June 26. For more information, you can visit their website.