Restaurants help create new homes for refugees


Rochester, N.Y. - Sharing food is a way to feel at home, especially when home is thousands of miles away.

Abdirisak Urur, a Somali refugee, started Somali African Cuisine to give refugees and immigrants a place to call home.

“Always, when you go to a different place, as a human being, your first impression is that, 'How I'm gonna survive? How I'm gonna live? How I'm gonna do what I want to do?'" he told 13WHAM.

He says now, most of his customers are refugees and immigrants from throughout Africa and the Middle East. Many say they felt scared coming to a new city.

Eating together - with family - changes that.

“We share together everything, like humans want to be connected like love,” Mamadou Sow, an immigrant from Guinea, said. “Always, I come here, I have my lunch, then I go back to work,” Sow added.

Dereje Gobena came here from Ethiopia in 1999 because of ethnic conflict between Eritea and Ethiopia. He opened Addis Ababa Restaurant in 2016 to bring Ethiopian food to the neighborhood.

“It makes you to feel like you shared your culture, and your culture is being loved, you know?” Gobena said.

These restaurants have helped them create new homes in a new country they now call home.

“This is home now,” Urur said. “I'm happy, and me and my family, everybody is happy here.”

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