Pilgrims on New Shores Looking for Freedom and Missing Mom’s Homemade Meals

In my home country, the U.S., people everywhere are now packing and looking at map apps to figure out which route to their relatives’ has the least traffic. Thursday is Thanksgiving in America, a time when people do two simple things: we gather with family and we stop to reflect on what we’re thankful for. And we eat a ton of savory food and watch American football, but I won’t dwell on the things I miss (too much). ... Read More

Roshan Students Visit Indonesian Children in Hospital Generosity is Contagious

Since its inception, the life blood of Roshan has been the kindness and generosity of others willing to serve the refugee community in Indonesia. As the center grows and changes, we see the limitless capacity of the refugees to serve one another. They also serve others, in keeping with the top value promoted at Roshan, “Do good for others.” A few months ago, a small group of students from my English class at Roshan, where I ... Read More

The Rule I Like the Most

I was born 26 years ago in a desolate mountain village in Afghanistan. I did not know that life would take me one day to live a limbo life in another part of the world called Indonesia. Fortunately, my life in Afghanistan prepared me well for the challenges ahead as a refugee in an often unwelcoming world. I was supposed to start primary school in 1995 in the village where I was born. It was exactly at this time that the ... Read More

No Apple Pie but Plenty of Love

Sometimes it seems like I never learn that there are only 12 months in a year. Every year around this time I realize that Christmas is just around the corner and I’m completely unprepared, as if it’s a surprise that November is here again. All of a sudden there is scrambling to decide on holiday plans and work out logistics, to make good on vague gift ideas, to find extra pockets of time and money for end of year concerts, ... Read More

Alone in the Middle of Everyone

The first time I met Saleha and Mojgan, I was enchanted and troubled. It is rare to meet young Afghan women traveling alone, without a male protector as is the custom in the Afghan culture. These two girls, ages 21 and 16 respectively, spoke some English, although it was hard to gauge how much because they were too shy to say much to me. Although now sharing the tiny cramped room of their brother, already a student at ... Read More

One Sentence at a Time

Today is the first day of the new term at Roshan Learning Center. In spite of the flurry of activity required to get things ready--scrubbing floor mats, cleaning air conditioning vents, juggling complicated schedules in tightly packed spaces--the excitement of new beginnings is always worth the hard work. With all the focus on logistics, it can be hard to focus on the real reason behind all the work, which is to see student ... Read More

One Teenager’s Journey for a Better Life Hussain's Story

Indonesia is home to more than 12,000 refugees, most hoping for asylum in Australia or the United States. Many of them live in Jakarta. Some asylum seekers live in overcrowded detention centers. The rest share small apartments scattered around the city. In these concrete apartment blocks, the refugees sit and wait, often with 15 people or more sharing a four room place. Most hope to go to Australia due to its proximity and ... Read More

The Journey to Asylum The life of a refugee in Jakarta, Indonesia: Part 1

Note: This post is a two-part series to provide a better understanding of the lives and context of refugees here in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is based on real stories of friends and members of the Roshan Learning Center, but certainly each person's journey is unique.   Forced to leave It’s not an easy decision to flee one’s homeland, but every day thousands are fleeing due to political, religious, or ethnic ... Read More