Harrowing refugee stories, SMU/Preston Hollow mom’s real-data make for refreshingly honest podcast

Many refugees, like Ramadan and Fathima Bee, continued to face chaos here in the States. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

An SMU graduate student produces the podcast In Their Own Voices, “where we put refugee stories in the heart of the data.” It’s an approach to refugee acceptance that points to the pocketbooks of our city and country rather than merely pulling at heartstrings, a route they believe will get ore resuts when it comes to real-life care.

Photographed in 2014, 18-year-old refugee Se Da Oo Sha interpreted vital information during the information to Vickery Meadow residents. Photo by Danny Fulgencio

And it would be remiss to not point out that an Ursuline Academy of Dallas 10th grader, Elizabeth Primrose of Preston Hollow, wrote the story on Medium that caught our attention. (Follow link to read full story).

Tiffany Jelke is the 45-year old mom of two and Southern Methodist University graduate student who returned to school at age 38 to complete her undergraduate degree in human rights.

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After learning of and accepting a fellowship funded by Embrey Human Rights, she began producing her show, wherein she “pairs dialogue from personal accounts of refugees with information from national experts.”

Each episode of the podcast discusses a specific topic surrounding refugees, covering issues from the security vetting process of refugees before entering the United States to the economic impact of refugees. Every episode starts off with a refugee guest sharing their story, followed by an expert interview, then finishes out with the refugee guest concluding their story. —Elizabeth Primrose, student 

Jelke’s podcast has garnered quite a following, so much so that professionals including Paul Solman, economic correspondent for PBS NewsHour, have spoken on different episodes of the podcast.

“It’s really easy to live in our comfort bubbles,” Jelke told Primrose, “and, by doing [this podcast], I am doing whatever small part I can [to] provide a way to make a difference to maybe save one life … You never feel as fulfilled until you are doing something in the service of other people.”

Jelke also works as refugee policy advocate at the International Rescue Committee in the Vickery Meadow area of Dallas, a community where many residents have fled from worn-torn countries across the globe.


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