Thursday, October 13, 2011
We've been spending a great deal of time looking at the process and past of refugees and those seeking asylum- but I'm left to wonder: what happens next? How do these people, with shattered lives and identities, begin to rebuild? This article in the New York Times describes the rise of community farms dedicated to refugee agriculture. Programs like New Roots offer significant sources of income and access to an international variety of produce- but more importantly, they offer a community and a sense of belonging. One of the most agonizing aspects of resettlement is being stripped of one's social identity. These people have come from countries where their societal norms have been entirely inverted; they have lost their families, friends, culture, and entire way of life. By rebuilding interpersonal connections and working with others for a common goal, refugees and asylees can reconstruct their sense of purpose and integrity while establishing meaningful links to a new community. In this community of shared pasts and shared goals, healing can take place.
This article is definitely worth a read- it's a hopeful change of pace from the dismaying, tragic stories of human rights violations. The refugee farm projects are a heartening reminder that people can and do come together to help their fellow man.