World Refugee Day 2017

Adwa and her older sister came to the U.S. as refugees in January 2016. They fled Saudi Arabia because of its oppressive environment for women. At just 18 years of age, Adwa left her parents and younger sister behind.  

Today is World Refugee Day. Today, we honor the millions of individuals like Adwa who leave their homes and families to find safety and prosperity in other countries.

In the past fiscal year alone, the U.S. accepted 84,995 refugees, each of whom brings their own stories and customs. The United States has a long history of welcoming refugees, and in many ways, American culture is shaped by traditions from the world over.

For refugees, the journey to the U.S. is not easy. Often, they try to flee their countries due to unsafe and chaotic circumstances. Getting refugee status and coming to the U.S. can take months. Once in the U.S., refugees must find a home and a job, not to mention become comfortable speaking English.

When Adwa and her sister arrived in the U.S., they worked long hours in harsh conditions. They took home little pay. Throughout her journey, Adwa held on to her dream of becoming a chef.

Emma’s Torch helps people like Adwa realize their dreams and build a satisfying life in the U.S. Through our paid training program, we give them all of the technical tools they need to land a job in a top-tier New York City restaurant. We also immerse them in the American professional world, teaching them essential interview and work skills. Our ESL program ensures they gain kitchen and restaurant-centered English vocabulary. Finally, we offer a nurturing and supportive community to help our students transition into their new American life.  

Adwa learning essential culinary skills as part of Emma's Torch's training program.

Adwa learning essential culinary skills as part of Emma's Torch's training program.

Today, Adwa is a student in our culinary program, and is working towards realizing her dream of becoming a chef. “Emma’s Torch is a wonderful and exciting opportunity,” she says.

This World Refugee Day, join us in celebrating our students and all of their potential.

To support our work, reserve a table for brunch at our cafe in Brooklyn or make a donation.