Oxfam brought refugees to Trump’s childhood home to tell their stories and raise awareness
An aid agency working to end global poverty rented Donald Trump’s childhood home this past weekend to shelter refugees for the evening and hear their stories. Video of the interviews aims to bring attention to the ongoing refugee crisis, as Trump attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York City this week.
Oxfam, which describes itself as, “a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty,” rented Donald Trump’s childhood home to film interviews with four refugees in hopes of sending a message to the president and other world leaders that more needs to be done to help.
Oxfam rented the property, located in Queens, NY, through AirBnb. The home is where Trump reportedly lived until age four. The organization filmed the interviews there as debate over his controversial orders to ban refugees from entering America rages on.
On their website, Oxfam says they gathered the refugees there “to send an unequivocal message to world leaders: refugees are welcome here.”
The group was sure to lay out a “Refugees Welcome” doormat at the entrance to the home, which holds Trump family memorabilia.
“In this moment, what better place to show world leaders the value of a safe, welcoming home for those fleeing unthinkable situations than the childhood home of the US president. Oxfam invited refugees here to share their stories and call for greater action by the US government and governments around the world to resettle and help refugees,” they write.
Indeed, and as Ghassan al-Chahada from Syria, Eiman Ali from Yemen, Abdi Iftin from Somalia, and Uyen Nguyen from Vietnam told their stories to journalists, one message came through loud and clear; everyone simply wants the chance to achieve the American dream, and provide a safe and happy life, for themselves and their children.
“American dream to me consists of liberty, independence, thinking peacefully,” says Iftin.
“There are so many parents, moms, dads, who are holding their kids across journeys, across all these different countries and so forth, just trying to do the best for their children,” Nguyen explains.
But now, that dream is in jeopardy as Trump works to prevent refugees from entering the country. Al-Chahada tells NBC News he had hopes of obtaining his green card so he could travel back to Syria and visit, but he’s no longer willing to risk it. “But since Trump was elected I don’t dare — I don’t dare leave this country and not be able to come back.”
That’s why the work Oxfam is doing to help promote the cause of refugees is so important. Because no one should have to worry that they don’t have a safe place to live.
Isra Chaker, Oxfam America refugee campaign lead, tells Scary Mommy, “Oxfam has been working to spread awareness and action worldwide to stem the massive refugee crisis. With over 65 million people forced from their homes, world leaders, including President Trump and Members of Congress here in the U.S., have a responsibility to support those who are most in need.”
As far as the organization’s future plans after their video struck such a chord, Chaker tells us, “Oxfam has been thrilled with the results of this action, which has enabled us to reach many new audiences and encourage them to sign on in support of the U.S.’s obligation to refugees both here and abroad.”
“We plan to continue to find new and innovative ways to share the stories of refugees and remind Americans that we all deserve a safe home and a chance to succeed.”
And finding ways to help is a more dire cause now than ever before. “We are on track right now to have the deadliest year for refugees and migrants that are trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea,” Oxfam’s Humanitarian Director, Shannon Scribner, explains. “And in Uganda right now there are over one million refugees fleeing the conflict in South Sudan.” The issue of refugees needing a safe place to resettle their families won’t be resolved any time soon, and cooperation and support from world leaders is crucial in helping those in need.
As Oxfam writes on its website, it has “never been more important for Americans to use their voice to let their government know that refugees are welcome here.” In order to do that, Scribner says citizens should “contact their government leaders and insist that they welcome refugees to provide assistance at home and abroad.”