ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — World Refugee Day is coming up on June 20 and is meant to celebrate and honor refugees around the world.

Over the last five years, Rochester has become a hub for refugees, as it has the third-highest rate of resettlement in New York State. 

Amal Abdi is a part of the refugee community in Rochester and has made her mission to change the narrative. She is a Somali refugee who came to the U.S. at the age of 13. 

“During the 90s, there was a civil war that happened in the country that caused a lot of people had to flee the country for their own safety. And my family happened to be one of those,” Abdi said.

Abdi lived in Kenya for the majority of her childhood and then found refuge in Minnesota.

“I ended up in Rochester got hitched, and so far been living here for 11 years with my kids and my husband,” Abdi said.

Abdi is now the Office Manager at Refugees Helping Refugees, an organization that works to help refugees settle in Rochester but unlike other organizations, the majority of their staff are refugees themselves. 

“I think that’s what makes us unique is people like us who have at one time been a refugee or are still a refugee. But we have gone to school, we have navigated the stigma, the stereotypes, that break all the rules and me have learned how to live in America and find a way for itself,” Abdi said.

As a young mother, Abdi is working to change the narrative surrounding refugees. 

“I want the narrative to change for refugees because we’re just not one thing, we’re a lot. We’ve done a lot for ourselves. And yes, we’ve been through a lot of hurdles. But we’ve also achieved a lot. So, it’s less of the pity and more, ‘We got this’ and ‘You’re doing well,’” Abdi said. 

Not only is Abdi working to dismantle stereotypes, but she also works full-time, is a mother of two, and is a student at Roberts Wesleyan, saying “refugees can be 21st-century women too.” 

‘Refugees Helping Refugees’ is hosting an event on Saturday to honor World Refugee Day, they are inviting everyone to come out and enjoy the festivities. Abdi is helping organize the event and says its purpose is to show people that being a refugee is not an insult, but a badge of strength.

“It’s a community event to honor us as refugees, to honor the struggles that we have gone through but not only just the struggles, our achievement as well. Many of us have climbed ladders that people don’t expect us to,” Abdi said.

There will be food and festivities happening from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 584 Jefferson Ave. in Rochester.