CWS Harrisonburg hosts storytelling and communication workshop for local refugee leaders


HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – On Saturday Church World Services Harrisonburg hosted a storytelling and communication workshop for leaders of the city’s immigrant and refugee communities to help them better connect with the surrounding community.

The objective of the training is to help refugees tell their stories, so that the inhabitants of the region better understand who they are and what they can bring to the community.

“We continue to develop these trainings, workshops and events to make sure they understand that they can do things here with the skills they have at home and translate them here to make the community more inclusive for everyone and also find solutions to our own problems. Said Rodrigue Makelele, community organizer for CWS Harrisonburg.

The training aims to help refugees become more involved in the local community, so that everyone can work together to make Harrisonburg a better place for all.

“It’s their home now, you know, people don’t intend to go back to live in the countries they fled, so they have to be civically involved in this community, give the best of them- even in the community, understand how the system works. and be able to participate in the system, ”Makelele said.

Makelele hopes hearing the stories of the refugees will help the surrounding community understand the many ways refugees can help the community.

“What we would like people to know is that these communities have a lot of skills and gifts that they bring and harnessing those skills would be very important for our community, so trying to understand who the refugees are, where from they come, their skills, their knowledge, the things they are passionate about, ”he said.

CWS said ongoing training for engagement with refugee communities is even more important after the arrival of nearly 100 Afghan refugees earlier this month.

“We have been advocating for the resettlement of Afghans for a while and now that they are here. We are thinking about other ways to involve them in the community, to move forward and start building their new life in this community, ”said Makelele.

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