“New American Neighbors” now airs every week in seven different languages, covering topics like navigating the educational system, job placement, skill building and mental health.
“It’s an opportunity for them to get information for things that we take for granted,” said Salvador Carrera of DPS family and community engagement. “We have a lot of different ways to get information if we speak English or even Spanish, but for these communities that speak languages that are not as common, there’s nothing available.”
The program airs in Arabic (Sudanese), Arabic (Syrian), French, Karen, Kunama, Nepali and Somali.
Hosts and guests come on the show, along with navigators. The navigators act as interpreters and are refugees themselves.
“When they hear their music or hear their language or their dialect through the radio or TV it will make them feel safe and more at home,” said Arabic Community Navigator Mohamed Juma.
Juma works with the Colorado African Organization where he helps refugees with ESL and dual-citizenship classes.
“This is my first time going through the microphone and cameras and doing shows, but it’s a very good experience for me and I think it’s fun,” Juma said.
The navigators create content that will be of interest to the refugee communities, and they also disseminate information from Denver Public Schools.
“The structure is completely new to them, the K-12 system, our expectations of education, college, universities, higher learning,” Carrera said. “They’re all things that we as citizens shoot for, what we aspire to do, and I think for our refugee communities, this is something that will allow them to learn the different structures and opportunities that exist for them.”