Refugee Stories

December 2, 2011

In conjunction with the national broadcast of Women, War & Peace, the LAB@Thirteen (WNET’s Educational and Community Outreach Department) and Fork Films awarded 15 local public television stations grants of $8,000 to $12,000 to create videos, podcasts and events that bring the ideas explored in the series home to their own towns. In many cases, the stations produced stories featuring refugees who fled conflict zones and ended up in cities across America; pieces like A Rwandan Romeo and Juliet Story, about a Rwandan couple, one Hutu, one Tutsi, now living in the Nashville area; these profiles of women from Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq who now live in Michigan, or this collection from Jacksonville, FL, featuring refugees from Vietnam, Burma and Bosnia. HoustonPBS took a different approach, presenting this interview with Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, founder of The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and now a professor at the University of Houston.

Two selected pieces are embedded below. The first is about Iraqi women living in Detroit; be sure to scroll down to the last clip, about a Detroit-based doctor who travelled back to her native Iraq to bring food to hungry families suffering under sanctions in the 1990s. The second is about a young Kurdish woman, now living in Nashville, who remembers the smell of mustard gas as she fled her home in Iraqi Kurdistan at the age of six.