How A Memphis Food Hall Is Transforming Refugee Lives And The Community

At a time when refugees are feeling less welcome than ever in the U.S., a group of them have built new lives in a Southern city by sharing their food and culture with locals.
Nepal native Indra Sunuwar's vegetarian chow mein is a favorite order of regular customers to the café. Sunuwar arrived in Memphis with her family as a child refugee. Source: Global Café

Seven years ago, Nepal native Indra Sunuwar, now 23, arrived in Memphis, Tenn., with her mom, dad and four siblings. They were seeking an opportunity for a better life. "I was really surprised by the cars and buildings and everything," she says. "I'd never seen a city like this before."

Her family was resettled in Memphis by Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, which showed them how to do things like buy groceries and take a bus. For the first few years, the transition wasn't that smooth for Sunuwar, who struggled to connect with her peers at school. "I made a lot of friends from other different countries, like Somalia, and I get along easy with them because they're like me," she says. "But I didn't really get close with American students. I don't know why; it was just uncomfortable."

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