Magic Valley Refugee Day to celebrate area’s diversity

Organizers said events like this allow those who have resettled in Idaho to thank the community for welcoming them
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 3:21 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — In the nearly 50 years since Idaho first became a home for refugees, the population of individuals who have resettled in the state has grown increasingly diverse. On Friday, Magic Valley Refugee Day is set to honor those who were forced to leave their countries and are starting a new life in Idaho.

According to the Idaho Office for Refugees, nearly 1300 individuals from 16 different countries are slated to resettle in Idaho this fiscal year. This includes 15 refugees from Ukraine.

Magic Valley Refugee day has run annually since 2010. Event organizers said the gathering helps foster tolerance within the community.

“It lets the community learn a little about where they’re from and a little about their culture, where they’re coming from,” said Special Event Coordinator Tara McFarland.

The College of Southern Idaho’s Refugee Center Director Zeze Rwasama added “if you want to know more about the refugees, please show up, talk to them, ask them questions so you are getting first-hand information from the source instead of reading online.”

Additionally, Rwasama said events like refugee day allow those who have resettled in Idaho to thank the Magic Valley community for welcoming them.

“They were rejected,” he said. “The country of their ancestors rejected them, kicked them out, and then we received them. We changed their lives.”

According to Rwasama, despite often working long hours, many members of the refugee community are already preparing meals and performances for the celebration.

The free event will feature a sampling of food from eight different cultures and a variety of performances. The celebration located at Twin Falls City Park will run from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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