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    Delivering a little fun to new Minnesota kids

    Day 47

    Time To Play

    We work with refugees all around the world, but we don’t always have the chance to get to know those who now call Minnesota home. So, for a few weeks this month we’re reaching out to refugees in our own communities. Moving halfway across the world can be exciting but stressful – and that’s especially true for kids. So we were hoping some small gestures of support and welcome will mean something for the youngest refugees in Minnesota.

    Minnesota winters can be brutal, particularly when you’ve come from a place where the temperature never dips below freezing. Newly arrived families spend a lot of time inside – and for kids used to spending lots of time outdoors playing, that can get quite boring. So on Day 47, with help from some amazing local resettlement agencies, we’re reaching out to refugee kids with some toys and other fun stuff to tide them over until Spring.


    There are just a handful of agencies tasked with helping refugees transition to life in Minnesota. In addition to many other services, they help families get settled in a new home and make sure they have a foundation to build a life from – furniture, clothing. So there was no one better than these agencies to tell us the kinds of things families needed for their little ones.

    On their recommendations, we put together baskets filled with blocks and balls, stuffed animals and colored pencils. And we hand-delivered them to the agencies, to the same spaces where these terrific groups offer English language learning classes and help prepare refugees to join the workforce. They already knew families who needed the toys, so they were thrilled with our delivery.


    We were also able to hand over some toys directly to new Minnesotan kids. Osman and Safiyo arrived in Minnesota just 3 weeks ago from a refugee camp in Ethiopia. Their kids have already started school and they get out to the grocery store with help from some friends. But otherwise they’ve mostly stayed close to home. They were so happy to have gifts especially for their kids – and the kids were so happy, they all greeted us from the window as we walked up to the duplex where they live.

    “This one here, this is what he’s excited about,” Osman said, pointing to his 11-year old son Mohamed (blue t-shirt) and then to the soccer ball nestled towards the back of the basket. Some of the other items the family was less familiar with. We explained they could use Play-Doh just like clay, and that Legos were basically blocks that fit tightly together. Osman said, “Oh! The kids, they like blocks.”

    Osman was especially happy to have toys for their son Abduwa, who is still too young for school and has been at home with Osman and his wife Safiyo every day with not much to do.

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    There can be a lot of uncertainty moving to a new, strange place and rebuilding a life from scratch. It was a blessing to be able to deliver toys and some fun items the whole family could enjoy – to let kids just be kids and give parents a moment to observe their children discovering something new and exciting.

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    Changemakers 365

    by Alight


    The world’s tough problems can seem insurmountable. So at Alight, while we tackle those big problems we also do what’s doable. Right then. And that’s what Changemakers 365 is all about. Learn more!


    Changemakers 365 members give either $30 per month or a one-time gift of $365 (it’s free for anyone who has ever lived in a refugee camp). Join us!

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