Young Refugee Women Their Stories


March 10, 2019 2:00 – 4:30 PM
Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center
300 Welles Road, Glastonbury

The Glastonbury Martin Luther King Community Initiative (GMLKCI) and Integrated Refugee Immigrant Services (IRIS) will host a Community Conversation on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at the Glastonbury Riverfront Community Center. There will be a free reception at 2:00 p.m. featuring Middle Eastern food. The Conversation will be from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. This Community Conversation is entitled “Teenage Refugees: Their MLK Pilgrimage.” The presenters will talk about the impact of the U.S. Civil-Rights Movement and the Civil Rights pilgrimage they took during the summer of 2018 on their lives, their goals, and aspirations.

The program will be moderated by Chris George, the Executive Director of IRIS, a government and privately funded nonprofit helping refugees and other displaced people establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut’s communities. Chris spent twelve years doing humanitarian work in Oman, Lebanon, and the West Bank in Gaza.

Please bring non-perishable, unexpired food items to our Community Conversation to be donated to the Glastonbury Food Pantry.

This is a free event open to all. For additional information, please contact Leslie Ohta at 202-538-1161,,

The presenters include::

Gladys Mwilelo: Gladys, a 20-year-old Sophomore at Central Connecticut State University majoring in Strategic Communication, would like to work with people from all different backgrounds. Gladys and her sister Lola were born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but lived in Burendi until arriving in the U.S. in 2013. Upon her arrival in the U.S. States Gladys spoke no English.

Mariame Kazadi: Mariame, a 17-year-old Junior at Old Lyme High School, arrived in the United States in 2016 from the Republic of the Congo, after spending four years in Kenya. When Mariame arrived in the U.S., she spoke some Kenyan English. Mariame intends to major in International Affairs and attend law school.

Deyana Al-Mashhadani: Deyana, a 20-year-old graduate of Hillhouse High School in New Haven, attends Albertus Magnus College. Deyanna upon graduation intends to attend medical school. Deyana and her family fled Iraq to Turkey, where they remained for three years before arriving in the U.S. four years ago. Upon her arrival here, Deyana spoke no English.

Divine Mahoundi: Divine, a 18-year-old Senior at Hillhouse High School in New Haven, is planning on pursuing a career either in law or medicine. Divine and her family fled the Republic of the Congo in 2016. Upon her arrival in the U.S., Divine spoke no English.

Lola Mwilelo: Lola, Gladys’s nineteen-year-old sister, a freshman at Gateway Community College, was also born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but lived in Burendi until arriving in the U.S. in 2013. Lola is studying fashion retailing and merchandising and wants to become a fashion designer.

Noor Roomi, a refugee from Iraq, graduated from Hillhouse High School, and is a freshman at Gateway Community College. Noor intends to pursue a career in nursing and would like to work for the UN in the medical field.

Ashley Makar: Ashley is the Community Liaison at IRIS. Ashley was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Civil Rights field trip in June of 2018, and is currently recruiting community groups to work with refugee families as they resettle in Connecticut, through IRIS’s Community Co-sponsorship Program. Ashley studied Literature, Theology, and Social Ethics at Yale Divinity School.
Our goal is for our presenters to provide both a starting point and a resource for what we hope will be an inspiring, lively, informative, and thought-provoking conversation.

The Glastonbury MLK Community Initiative is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization, formed in 2001, to increase knowledge about, and understanding of, the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We believe that bringing people together to inspire commitment to social justice and to discuss openly and honestly important issues relating to social justice will help build a more inclusive, informed, and tolerant community.

We invite organizations which advocate for social justice issues to have tables where participants will have the opportunity to learn about the mission and work of the various groups and to explore volunteer opportunities.