Deyar’s Journey from Baghdad to America

By Deyar Nasiri dmmznasiri@gmail.com

Edited by Kayla Byrd & Seyeon Hwang
Illustrated by Gina Nguyen

Deyar (second from left), pictured with her two daughters and husband (far right), recounts her decision to leave Iraq and start a new family in America. Photo Credit: Deyar Nasiri

Deyar is an Iraqi-American mother of two, teacher, and advocate for immigrants and women’s rights. She is fluent in both Arabic and English, which helps her greatly in her field. She works with English Language Learner students to provide assistance as they navigate their own experiences within American public schools. She is also the Founder of Inspirational Iraqis and Co-Founder of Embrace Women, a nonprofit supporting immigrant women, and has helped her daughters found a nonprofit called Girls of the Crescent.


Mo’s Story of Self-Love and Acceptance Despite her Disability

Story By: Mo Aina, Edited by Dainelis Rodriguez, Naz Hussein, and Hayley Ross.

Mo Aina is one of WeaveTales Second New American Speaker Cohort. Born in Nigeria, Mo suffered from a deformity in her legs called Genu Varum. As a little girl growing up, her legs, primarily her thigh bones, were curving outward instead of being straight, creating a bowed-like appearance. Mo’s story of struggling with her disability led her to truly become a force within herself by finding self-love and acceptance.

Pain was always consistent with my disability. I was…


Hella Sketchz: How an Iraqi Artist Captures Complexity with Cartoons

Story by Hala Ziad, Written by Naz Hussein, Edited by Dainelis Rodriguez

Hala Ziad was born in 1986 in Baghdad, Iraq. She graduated from Baghdad University with degrees in economy and administration from the Department of Statistical Science. After moving to the United States in 2016 as a refugee, Hala decided to pursue her true passion as an artist. Hella Sketchz, her cartoonist project, was launched in 2017 on social media. Through her caricatures, Hala addresses various issues in Iraqi society and beyond. Find Hella Sketchz on Instagram and Facebook.


Brewing stories through art, and the art of coffee and tea

By: Sheridan Block

Photo by Felicia Bass

Every morning, millions of feet drag across the kitchen floor, stumbling toward the coffee pot. Fingers fumble at switches until finally homes are filled with the energizing aroma of a batch of freshly brewed coffee. It’s not until the first sip hits that senses are jolted, bodies come to life, and the brain is ready to interact with others.

In a society focused on productivity and individuality, coffee is regarded as a personal and private ritual. It’s quite the opposite of traditions around the world, where…


An Iraqi Artist Paints his Way across Five Countries

Edited by Naz Hussein and Dainelis Rodriguez

Sarmad Al Musawi is a painter, sculptor, and ceramic artist from Iraq. Based in Michigan, Sarmad leads a company called Sarmad Arts dedicated to his artistic endeavors and immigrant experience. His work has been critically acclaimed and featured in the media. He is also a graduate of WeaveTales’s New American Speakers Program and a part of the advisory board. For more details about Sarmad’s work, please visit his website.

I grew up in Baghdad, Iraq as the younger brother of two. As a child, I let my imagination fly. On the school bus…


Katie’s Story of Refugees Passage through the Futile Bosnian- Croatian Boarder.

By: Katie Finn

Edited by Naz Hussein and Dainelis Rodriguez

Katie Finn is a Jacksonville, Florida native and recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh, located in Scotland. She has spent most of her 26-years in the United States (U.S.) but has lived and worked in four Southern African countries, supporting rural socio-economic development. While completing her master’s degree in Scotland, she was introduced to the European Refugee Crisis and has since changed her career focus from development to humanitarian aid.

In 2020, she volunteered with a small Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (most commonly known as Bosnia)…


Katia’s Lonely Quest for Empowerment in America

Written by Katia Weiss
Edited by Seyeon Hwang & Kayla Byrd

Based in Michigan, Katia Weiss is currently in the process of getting into college to pursue a degree in Psychology and Behavioral Analysis. For the past eighteen years, she was a stay-at-home mom supporting the education of her three daughters. She is also a volunteer in the local community and has worked as a Teacher’s Assistant at a preschool for two years.

Katia (far right) with her husband (far left) and daughters, Nadine (second from upper right), Alicia (lower right) and Julia (lower left) visiting Germany in 2012 (Photo Credit: Katia Weiss)

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, I have been living in Michigan with my husband and my beautiful daughters for the past two decades.

Looking back, my life…


Jerome’s Continued Battle as a Refugee Returnee

Written by Kayla Byrd
Edited by Seyeon Hwang
Illustrated by Gina Nguyen

Jerome V. is a refugee returnee based in Nigeria. Originally from northern Nigeria, he previously sought refuge in Libya and Europe before coming back to his home country. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, he is barely keeping himself and his family afloat, complicated by the trauma and stigma caused by his experience of displacement.

Jerome traveling in Dubai in 2014 (Photo Credit: Jerome V.)

I was born in Anambra and raised in Northern Nigeria.

Growing up, my family was well off. My father owned a water company, which allowed me to lead a life of comfortability. …


Thu’s Journey from the “Jungle” to Florida

Written by Daniella Kapuschansky
Edited by Kayla Byrd & Seyeon Hwang
Illustrated by Gina Nguyen

Thu Lai Mu is a Pastor at the Southside Karen Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. As a Karen minority, he left Burma (Myanmar) at the age of 14 and lived in a refugee camp at the Thailand-Burma border for 15 years until he was resettled in the U.S.

Editor’s Note: The name “Burma” is the English name for the country currently known as Myanmar. The country was officially called Burma during and after the British colonial rule until the present-day name, Myanmar, replaced it in…


How Hayley’s Teaching Experience Provided New Perspectives

By Hayley Ross hayley@weavetales.org
Edited by Seyeon Hwang & Kayla Byrd

Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Hayley is pursuing a degree in Secondary English Education and a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language at the University of North Florida. Hayley brings her passion for refugees and teaching English as a second language to the New American Speaker’s’ Program. She hopes to teach middle or high-school level English and inspire students just like herself. Her dedication to education has been a huge encouragement for her students to share their stories of migration.

How It All Began

In April 2020, I was struggling with unexpected…

WeaveTales

We collect and share the stories of refugees around the world to correct misperceived narratives and empower refugees to find a safe home. www.weavetales.org

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