Up on a darkened stage at the Zootown Arts Community Center last Wednesday night, five refugees shared their stories of fleeing conflict in their home countries and building a new life in Missoula.
Each person had to leave friends and family behind to find a new life in a strange new town. But each has found a new path in Montana.
Kamar, left, (prefers to only use her first name), a refugee from Syria, puts on a cooking demonstration for the dish Fattet al Djaj at the Missoula Public Library. Kamar fled from Aleppo during the civil war and arrived in Missoula in 2022 with her husband and two sons.
BEN ALLAN SMITH, Missoulian
The event was part of Welcoming Week, a national movement meant to “embrace the role that all people play in creating prosperous and successful communities,” according to the local nonprofit Soft Landing. The organization has worked to assist the roughly 500 refugees that have resettled in Missoula since 2016.
Two of the refugees who shared their personal journeys are Janvier Munyazikwiye, originally from Uganda, and Saleh Ndiefi (he