What my dad taught me
June 13, 2019
In the garden with Dad
June 13, 2019

‘Soufra’ – From refugee to entrepreneur

By Leela Ramdeen, Chair CCSJ & Director, CREDI

This Sunday (June 16) I celebrate my birthday. Each day I thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed upon me. When I hear of the plight of migrants and refugees, I cannot help but be empathetic and compassionate towards them and to use my God-given gifts to move from emotion to action to promote the dignity of each human person.

I invite you to join members of the Archdiocese’s Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR) for a screening of the documentary, ‘Soufra’, in commemoration of World Refugee Day. ‘Soufra’ was nominated for Best Positive Documentary as part of 2018 Cannes Positive Cinema Week.

The screening will take place at MovieTowne, Audrey Jeffers Highway, Port of Spain, this Tuesday (June 18) from 7.30 p.m. There will be an opportunity for audience participation afterwards. Tickets cost TT$150.

Proceeds will go towards supporting AMMR’s work in parishes, as we seek to develop and implement strategies to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees who have come to our shores seeking peace and an opportunity to live with dignity.

This event will take place two days before World Refugee Day (June 20) which, as the UN states, “marks a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee… the time is now to show that the global public stands with refugees.” Let us recognise their strength, courage and perseverance and play our part to build a world in which people can live in peace.

The documentary “follows the inspirational story of Mariam Shaar—a generational refugee who has spent her entire life in a refugee camp in Beirut, Lebanon. Mariam sets out against all odds to change her fate by launching a successful catering business. She then expands it into a food truck business with a diverse team of refugee women.”

It “follows her struggle in uniting the female community with this business venture”. She involves women from Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon in her business. ‘Soufra’ offers hope to all of us who are involved in the struggle to ensure that everyone has a place at the table. View the trailer at www.soufrafilm.com.

Read last Sunday’s ‘Conversations with Archbishop J’ column in which he raises significant points for reflection, particularly in relation to ways in which we can meet the needs of Venezuelans who have come to our shores.

Pope Francis’ message for the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2019, commemorated on September 29, was released at a press conference held at the Vatican on Monday,  May 27 on the theme: It is not just about migrants. 

The message is divided into seven sub-themes. It is not just about migrants: it is also about our fears; it’s also about charity; it’s also about our humanity; it’s also about not excluding anyone; it is about putting the last in first place; it is about the whole person, about all people; it is about building the city of God and man.

He said “migration is not just a matter of migrants. It’s about the aspirations and needs common to all people, but from which many are excluded.” The presence of migrants “is an opportunity for encounter and for showing concern. It requires knowing how to welcome, how to provide room, how to listen.

Here, the story of encounter with God acquires a chapter about meeting God within a stranger, wherein we set aside our certainties based on habits and fears and open up to discovering new truths about ourselves. It’s not just about migrants, it’s about how to be a Church”. Visit CCSJ’s website for our newsletter containing his message.

Do purchase a ticket and join us at MovieTowne this Tuesday for the screening of ‘Soufra’.

I wish all fathers a Happy Father’s Day.