BYU Student Gives Voice To Refugees, One Story At A Time

Oct 10, 2019, 9:36 PM | Updated: 9:43 pm

PROVO, Utah — A student at Brigham Young University is bringing powerful stories about refugees to campus, using past experiences and language skills in hopes of forging new bonds.

“My mother often likes to say that we bond on our broken edges,” Dalton Bradford said.

Bradford, who is fluent in Arabic, is telling stories after starting the first BYU chapter of Their Story is Our Story, a nonprofit that bridges cultural gaps between refugees and citizens. They share first-hand accounts of refugees online and at gatherings.

“It’s not asking people to give their money, but more to give of their time, to at the very least read this story,” Bradford said.

The group gives voice to people like Sahar, who was forced to flee her Islamic country; Shakila, a mother of five from Afghanistan; and Dumdi Baribe, from Nigeria.

“I think it’s important for them to be able to share their stories so that we can see that, ‘hey, they are human, and they have families,’” Baribe said. Militants stormed her home when she was six years old.

“There was like gunshots and my family ran out towards the back of the house,” said Baribe, who was stuck inside. “I was a tiny girl, so I was just like, huddled in a corner. A voice told me to stay quiet.”

She and her family came here when she was eight years old. Now, as a student at UVU, she remembers how alone she felt.

“It was hard finding a place to fit,” she said.

That sense of not belonging and feeling of loss is something Bradford can relate to.

“It’s hard moving from place to place,” he said, adding that he grew up all over the world. “Just being kind of thrown in and learning the language.”

His mom helped start the nonprofit and took him to visit a refugee camp.

“I knew I had to do something,” he said. He translates interviews with refugees from Arabic to English. “You get into a rhythm.”

Through shared experiences of loss and grief, Bradford said we connect. It’s something he learned firsthand.

“It’ll be 13 years this next July,” he said. “I lost an older brother when I was about 10 years old to a drowning accident.”

He was saving a friend while he was at BYU-Idaho. Though they experienced loss under very different circumstances, grief here is just as painful as it is in other countries.

“Realizing that life is so fragile and that this kind of thing can happen to me,” Bradford said. Uniting people, reminding us that their story is our story.

If you’d like more information about Their Story is Our Story, visit tsosrefugees.org.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

A photo of an old boat harbor by the Great Salt Lake shoreline taken sometime between 1940 and 1960...
Carter Williams, ksl.com

How did Utahns react when the Great Salt Lake hit its previous record low in 1963?

Craig Miller was recently rifling through some old Utah water documents destined to be destroyed when he came across a peculiar set of drawings of the Great Salt Lake sketched nearly 60 years ago.
15 hours ago
FILE: Chick-fil-A restaurant. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)...
Eliza Pace

Utah Chick-fil-A employee praised for paying for family’s wedding catering

MY PLEASURE: A Chick-fil-A employee is being praised after he covered the bill for a wedding when he heard of the challenges the family had faced. 
15 hours ago
KSL TV's Casey Scott with HGTV stars Leslie Davis and Lyndsay Lamb. (Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott, KSL TV

Casey Scott previews the Deseret News Home Show with ‘Unsellable Houses’ hosts

The Deseret News Home Show kicked off Friday, and we sent Casey Scott to check out everything you need to know to get those latest trends for your home.
15 hours ago
Doves were released at a UVU conference on suicide prevention in honor of lives lost to suicide. (K...
Tamara Vaifanua

1,200 attend UVU suicide prevention and awareness conference

One day, one conference with a lifetime of potential opportunities. That’s how organizers have summed up this year’s suicide prevention conference at Utah Valley University.
15 hours ago
Eliza Pace

Driver who hit 5-year-old visits him in hospital, brings him new bike

The driver who hit a 5-year-old boy wants the public to know "there are decent people out there."
15 hours ago
Ashley Moser

Opposing team offers prayer during game after learning of injured player

Dax Johnson tried his best to push through the pain at youth football practice last week but after heading home that night, he knew something was wrong.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
BYU Student Gives Voice To Refugees, One Story At A Time