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Somali refugee in Omaha advocating for other refugees, travels to Washington D.C.

Dekow Sagar visited Washington D.C. to speak with elected officials on Capitol Hill about issues refugees are facing. (Picture courtesy of Dekow Sagar)

A man from Somalia who now lives in Omaha is trying to make a difference and he went to Washington D.C. to do it.

Dekow Sagar is a refugee.

He said, "I grew up at a time when the civil war of Somalia was at its height."

Sagar says he was just seven-years-old when his family had to leave Somalia.

"For a long time, we were displaced from one village to another hoping that things would go back to normal."

Things didn’t go back to normal for Sagar. He says he spent 15 years in a refugee camp.

"In 2007 I was fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to come live, study and work in the United States, an opportunity I will always be grateful for."

Now, he wants to do his part to help other refugees. He was in Washington D.C. last week where he met with people on Capitol Hill.

Sagar says he and others went there "with the goal of helping refugee leaders like myself, to better equip with the necessary skills they need so that they can better represent their communities and the refugee at large."

He says the trip was also a “platform for us to share about our own stories, the challenges that we went through and how we can better support, but also advocate for others."

Sagar says there are so many issues that impact refugees in Omaha.

His hope is to sit down with them to "see the common issues that we are all facing and come up with a doable solution."

People like Lauren Cirrincione want to help. She is the Bridge to Care volunteer health fair coordinator. Her organization will be at the Joslyn Art Museum on Saturday for the World Refugee Day Health Fair.

Cirrincione said, "In many cases, they need an extra amount of assistance with navigating the healthcare system."

At the health fair refugees in Omaha can get the help they need.

Cirrincione said, "We've coordinated over 20 vendors who are providing screening and healthcare services for the refugee populations in attendance."

As for Sagar, he said, "We have an obligation to create a platform that allows this population to be integrated into the mainstream population in the United States."

The health fair at the Joslyn Art Museum isn't the only way people can get involved.

Sagar says there are refugee programs all over Omaha where people can volunteer, donate to refugees and mentor them.

The World Refugee Day celebration starts at 10 a.m. The health fair goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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