Many refugees arriving in Lancaster are overwhelmed with poverty soon after their arrival. Yet they have the unique ability to offer their own ethnic foods and cultural experiences as a way to earn extra income.
BRIDGE is a platform where people can book cultural experiences with local refugees, This builds a connected community and gives refugees a way to earn supplemental income. Join this movementto transform Lancaster from a simply diverse city to a connected and caring city!
My name is Mustafa Nuur. I am a refugee from Somalia who is now a Lancastrian. My father was a businessman in Somalia, but after his death, our family of nine was forced to flee. After spending almost a decade as a refugee, I resettled in Lancaster two years ago.
Being the oldest in my family, the weight of responsibility that I carried in those first two years was nearly overwhelming. My brother and I had to find a way to feed and provide for our large family in this new and strange environment. Many times we thought we were sinking in the quicksand of bills and demands. I also realized that although Lancaster is a welcoming city for refugees, many locals don’t connect with their refugee neighbors. I wanted to create solutions for both the income and the connection issues.
Over the last two years, I have become a community leader in Lancaster and a voice for refugees at the White House and The United Nations. I was recognized as the 2017 Volunteer of the Year by Church World Service, one of our country’s nine refugee resettlement agencies.
I have often wondered: What if all refugees didn’t have to get new training to make money? What if my mother’s cooking skills or my neighbor’s drumming class were paths to getting ahead and to connecting with their new local community?
That’s when Bridge was born — a platform that will connect people through shared experiences while offering many refugees an income source from skills they already have. I believe that through sharing cuisines, cultures, and conversations, we can change lives and connect people.