WHYY: Rohingya refugees resettled in Philadelphia find freedom

Press Coverage 
  • Photo credit: Kimberly Paynter

"When Noor Fauziah Rashid first came to the United States, she found some things downright baffling.

Like her Walmart coworkers, asking her if she’d gotten a customer’s phone number.

“They said: ‘Did you take the digit? I said: ‘What digit?!’ ” she recalled, giggling at the cultural gaps that can make slang so confounding.

Now, 15 months after Rashid, 22, and her older sister and brother fled Malaysia as refugees and resettled in Philadelphia, they feel more at home here — in one very key way — than they ever did in southeast Asia.

“I feel more freedom” here, said Noor’s sister Faridah, 25. “I can be who I want to be.”

Most of all, they revel in the simple things, like walking down the street alone, working, and going to school. As Rohingya Muslims, they weren’t allowed to do any of those things in Malaysia, where they were denied citizenship. They say they felt like outcasts."

Read the full story by Dana DiFilippo on WHYY.