IRC’s Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

Seattle’s chapter of the International Rescue Committee celebrated a gift-exchange between refugees and sponsors this passed week. Families from around the world got together for gifts, games and activities, filling the auditorium with smiles, laughter and a few cries from the overwhelmed little ones.

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

International Rescue Committee's Winter Party in Seattle, WA

IRC teams provide health care, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries, with special programs designed for women and children. Every year, the IRC resettles thousands of refugees in 22 U.S. cities.

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International Rescue Committee’s Summer Youth Programs – Seattle, WA

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The International Rescue Committee (IRC) puts on two summer youth programs, bringing recently resettled refugees together into the American school system.  Some have basic English skills, others have none.  This is just the intro into their new life, from harm to home in the U.S.

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Cameron Karsten Photography

International Rescue Commitee’s Naturalization Ceremony – Seattle, WA

Naturalization-66I’ve had the pure joy of working with IRC’s Seattle Chapter since the start of 2013, connecting with a broad range of international community members around the Pacific Northwest region.  June 20th, 2013 was none other then World Refugee Day where a handful of individuals received their United States Citizenship at a local art gallery in downtown Seattle, which exhibited art by IRC-sponsored refugees turned U.S. citizens.  Here is a look at a naturalization ceremony, welcoming these newly-recognized U.S. citizens.

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Cameron Karsten Photography

Photo Essay: International Rescue Committee (IRC) Seattle Chapter

CameronKarsten2013_NonProf1Having recently connected with International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Seattle Chapter, doors opened to a host of incredibly humbling experiences.  Shooting for them takes me back to my travel roots, experiencing other cultures and the people.  The above photograph is a group of recently arrived refugees from Nepal and Bhutan who wanted to create a knitting community.  The experience being there resulted in the women erupting in traditional song and laughter, with communication spoken via hand and body gesture.

Started in Seattle in 1976, little presence is known of their existence within the city.  The continuing goal working with them is to create a library of imagery that they can utilize as posters, thank you cards, newsletters, website material and more.  Below are more images taken for IRC’s Seattle Chapter.

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A knitting community created by recent arrivals of IRC’s Seattle Chapter

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A daughter who recently arrived from Eritrea sees her father for the first time in over one year.

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A joyous father is happily reunited with his daughters after flying into SeaTac from Eritrea.

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A woman practices job training skills at an activity created by IRC for newly arrived refugees.

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A man from Burma studies basic job training skills in Tukwila, WA after arriving to the United States three months ago.

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A teacher back in Burma, now faces a new language, a new culture, and a new set of skills acquired at IRC’s job training class.

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Denis, a refugee from Bosnia under IRC from over 14 years ago, now volunteers to help new arrivals adapt to American culture and job market.

Learn more by visiting IRC Seattle Chapter

IRC

Cameron Karsten Photography