World Refugee Day

Laughter, music, cultural dancing, storytelling, awards, a petting zoo, a fresh barbecue meal, and so much more were present at AccessCal’s Community Center during the World Refugee Day Orange County celebration, which was hosted by the Refugee Forum of Orange County (RFOC). World Refugee Day is an international day organized every year on June 20th by the United Nations. It is designed to celebrate and honor refugees from around the world. Each year, RFOC organizes this event to recognize refugees for their courage, bravery, and contributions. AccessCal is a leading member of the RFOC, and Executive Director and Founder Nahla Kayali also serves as RFOC’s Chairperson.

AccessCal was thrilled to see over a hundred families gather on this special day to enjoy and celebrate the resilience of refugees. RFOC presented awards to Maryna Dovhulia, Erfan Nebiiev, Mesbah Hadi, Sunbul Siddiqi, Husnia Azizi, and Sayed Sadat, who represented the nations of Ukraine and Afghanistan and shared their challenges and joys with all attendees. Together, they were awarded for their accomplishments in education, careers, and their successful resettlement efforts. We are very proud of our refugee clients and the contributions they are making every day! The program also had a special honorary speech by City of Anaheim Council Member Jose Dias, who shared his own refugee story of arriving from Cuba and his journey to becoming a public official, which generated a sense of hope and motivation with our attendees. We also had AccessCal’s very own Sh. Yassir Fazaga, who shared his journey of refugee migration and resettlement to becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist and now the Mental Health Advisor at AccessCal.

Many thanks to CalOptima Health and Supervisor Vicente Sarmiento, Orange County Board of Supervisors 2nd District, for sponsoring this event. We were overjoyed to have CEO Michael Hunn stop by for a visit and have Policy Advisor Vasila Ahmad from Supervisor Sarmiento’s Office attend and present certificates of accomplishment to all refugee awardees. Thank you to our Mental Health Advisor, Sh. Yassir Fazaga, LMFT, for being behind the barbecue alongside many volunteers, and thanks to our Master of Ceremonies Noor Abdelaaty and our Event Coordinator for the day, Adnan Osta!

Also, a special thank you shout-out to the Salam organization for donating meat packages to distribute to attendees. We thank all the staff, volunteers, and RFOC members for making this day a memorable one, as always!

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