Reflecting the true heart of diversity,this coffee shop represents a safe haven for new Americans given refugees a chance to build new lives and thrive in community is very different from the ones they left behind.
Founder Kitty Murray says she wanted to create a space where people feel welcome.I think people want to reach out to each other if they’re given an environment where it’s safe and where they can do it.And you know it’s safe and it tastes good and it smells good and you know it’s comfortable then people rise to that challenge and so yes,we’ve had people from all different religions and countries and there’s a lot of cultural differences but because of this base value of welcome,we find that what that really does is it enriches us rather than challenges us.
The idea has expanded since the company first started with just one red coffee truck and it has been a great opportunity,says Murray to truly experience Clarkson’s diversity.I’ve learned so much about other cultures and there’s so much beauty in them and we miss out when we don’t know those people,we just put them into a box and label them.
Ahmad Alzoukani started working at the Refuge Coffee since 2015, two months after arriving in the US from Syria.I went through the Borglum which like a year job training, development skills which gave me a lot of experience to change,too many things and learn the system here and then a year later when I finished the Borglum I started to work for them and gave my experience to the others.
Helping others gives new Americans the confidence and courage to do more, says Lion Shombana who came here from the Democratic Republic of Congo.I’m very glad so that I can try myself as refugees in this country.I’m very happy to help other refugees to improve their work skills and their language skill and then it makes me to feel very happy than before.With 60 languages and 148 nationalities represented in Clarkston, Refuge Coffee has become an integral part of the community,attracting people from all walks of life to come together and share stories from all over the world.
Saleh Damiger, VOA, Clarkston, Georgia.