On Wednesday night, reporter Adrian Florido and I attended the International Night of Networking, a sort of meet-and-greet event where local refugees mingled with professionals from some of San Diego’s biggest employers.

The stories we found were amazing. Here are images of 10 refugees who told us about their lives and work.

Evarist Kharelimana is a physicist from Rwanda who lived in Moscow for 20 years before arriving in San Diego early this year.

Zina Jassim is an architect from Iraq.

Ibrahim Matee is a communications engineer from Iraq who arrived in San Diego in 2008 after several years in several Middle Eastern countries. He was injured in an explosion at the United Nations building in Baghdad in 2003.

Basman Kraidi is a dentist from Iraq.

Nawfal Ismail of Iraq is a Ph.D candidate in molecular pharmacology. His wife and children are currently in Malaysia awaiting their visas.

Semere Zemo of Eritrea is currently an assistant manager at a local restaurant, but is seeking a job in marketing and sales.

Mohammad Khajehpour is a chemist from Iran who arrived in San Diego a year ago after fleeing Iran to save his son — who had converted to Christianity — from arrest. He is hoping to become a high school teacher.

Radha Adhikari studied law in Nepal, where she lived for 18 years as a refugee from neighboring Bhutan. She worked in social services and was president of a women’s rights nonprofit in Nepal, but was not allowed to practice law. She commutes two hours by bus each way from City Heights to her job at Cinnabon in a mall in Escondido.

Jandark Yuseif is a general physician from Iraq who fled after her family was threatened. She is studying for certification to practice medicine in the United States.


Sam Hodgson is a freelance photojournalist and contributor to Voice of San Diego. You can contact him at samhodgsonphoto@gmail.com...

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