Celebrating the Heritage of Local Refugees

June 23, 2013 Updated Jun 23, 2013 at 11:32 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

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June 23, 2013 Updated Jun 23, 2013 at 11:32 PM EDT


Buffalo, NY (WKBW) - Refugees who have fled to Buffalo had a chance to celebrate their heritage and new hometown at a special festival in honor of World Refugees Day.

Singing, dancing and food showed off the diversity in the Queen City at the YWCA on Grant Street.

Thousands of refugees have fled countries where hunger and war run rampant to move to Buffalo.

The festival was full of smiles, but it has been a long journey for many.

Ali Kadhum says it was very difficult, "Leaving my mother, father, sister, brother -- the family you love -- to start a new life, without having any idea, how can I start this."

Other refugees recalled the genocide and political corruption that took the lives of their family and friends.

However, the refugees still feel pride for their cultures.

"We still have loyalty for our people," Suliman says, a Sudana refugee. "Just to remind us to have our culture -- especially for our kids."

Mustafa Mohamed, who also came from Sudan, says events like this are an opportunity to meet new friends and embrace the different cultures in the area.

War torn countries overseas know no boundaries in the Queen City.

"Nobody thinks about the south or north here -- just that we are Sudanese," Suliman says.

"I feel like this is my country right now and my city," adds Mohamed. "I'd do anything for Buffalo."