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In the past year, about 85,000 refugees from around the world settled in the United States.

Each refugee undergoes a rigorous screening process that can take years to complete. That experience alone is often exhausting and all-consuming.

Once they arrive, language barriers, lack of economic opportunities, and working in and around complicated systems can make settling in a new country and community very difficult.


"[Refugees] undergo already a very long and painful life," said Chhabi Koirala, who spent 17 years in a refugee camp in Nepal. "They are very tired of being in the camp. And when they come here they see everything different. It's not always what they expect."

The Hornbakery, a group of graduate students from the University of Maryland, explored the confusion and uncertainty many refugees face in a powerful illustrated story below, titled "Amira in America."

The group consists of four women: Andrea Castillo, Carmen Collins, Liz Laribee, and Dolly Martino. "All of us had a personal interest in creating something for people who speak English as a foreign language for a variety of reasons, from experiencing migration to the U.S. firsthand to volunteering with refugees in the U.S.," explained the group in an interview.

"Amira in America" is about a Syrian girl named Amira who is adjusting to her new life in America. She shares a bond with her teacher, an immigrant from Ethiopia, who understands the hardships and isolation that Amira feels in a new land.

The Hornbakery chose to do an illustration about refugees to resonate with a diverse audience. "Pairing the story with the pictures helps get the message across more easily, especially for those who may lack literacy skills, either in English or even in their own language," they explained.

While getting started in a new place is challenging, as this story shows, there are many ways to support and empower new residents.

Koirala now works as a job coach with the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), a Portland-based nonprofit serving over 30,000 community members each year. The organization provides more than 140 linguistically and culturally specific services and resources, including academic support, community development, parenting education, English courses and more.

In his role, Koirala helps new residents secure employment. He assists with resumes, sets up interviews, and even provides transportation.

You can help refugees in your community too. In fact, Koirala has some tips.

Seek out local organizations and charities in your area, as many desperately need volunteers. Whether it's driving families to and from appointments or serving as a translator or English conversation partner. And as refugees and immigrants settle into their new routines, being a friendly and familiar face in a sea of uncertainty goes a long way. Unsure where or how to start? Koirala says, don't be afraid to speak up.

"Ask folks what they need and how you can help."

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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