Resettled In this six-part podcast series, we showcase stories of refugees as they adjust to their new lives in Virginia. These personal stories are woven together with useful teaching moments about the resettlement process. Season one will consist of six thematic episodes, which aim to bring the listener into the daily lives of refugees through field interviews (at home, work and school), personally-recorded audio diaries and reflective studio interviews.


From VPM

In this six-part podcast series, we showcase stories of refugees as they adjust to their new lives in Virginia. These personal stories are woven together with useful teaching moments about the resettlement process. Season one will consist of six thematic episodes, which aim to bring the listener into the daily lives of refugees through field interviews (at home, work and school), personally-recorded audio diaries and reflective studio interviews.

Most Recent Episodes

Recommended Listening: Before Me

We're listening to Before Me, journalist Lisa Phu's exploration of her mother's journey fleeing her home in Cambodia, spending 6 years protecting her family in Vietnam, and ultimately resettling in America as a single parent. We think you'll find this new podcast series from Self Evident Media to be a rich, intimate, and recognizable testament to refugee and diaspora families. We're proud to share episode 1 of Before Me, "Firstborn". Here's the description: --- I've never known my mom's first daughter, Ah Lee. I remember writing a story when I was six or seven, about meeting her on a magic carpet ride. And for my whole life, I'd always know that there was so much I didn't know about my family's past. But I never asked my mom the most basic questions about Ah Lee... or anything else that happened when she fled from war, and then genocide, in Cambodia during the 1970s. That changed when I gave birth to my first daughter, Acacia. My mom took time off work, without pay, to fly across the country and visit for three weeks, taking care of her first grandchild so I could take care of myself. Every time I wanted to talk with my mom about her experiences in Cambodia, one of us would find a reason to postpone. But amidst the happy moments and the tense arguments we had during those three weeks, we finally did sit down and turn on a recorder so she could tell me. About her decision to leave home in 1974 when a Khmer Rouge rocket exploded in her family's home, changing their lives forever. About the rising threats of war across Cambodia that pushed her and my dad to seek refuge near the border between Cambodia and Vietnam. And about how she never stopped thinking about the sister I never knew. --- Before Me is a Self Evident Media production. The show's Executive Producers are James Boo, Lisa Phu, and Ken Ikeda. It was created, written and produced by Lisa Phu. Editing by Julia Shu. Fact checking by Harsha Nahata and Tiffany Bui. Sound design by James Boo. Additional support from Cathy Erway. Original theme music by Avery Stewart. Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions. Audio engineering by Dave Waldron and Timothy Lou Ly. Cover art and show name created by Christine Carpenter. Audience engagement by Rekha Radhakrishnan. Thanks to Ben Kiernan for participating in the research and reporting process. --- Listen to the full series and find additional resources at

Bonus: One Year Later

In this special episode of Resettled, executive producer Angela Massino checks in a year later with Chef Noori, owner of the restaurant The Mantu. She also has a conversation with the host, Ahmed Badr, about visiting Iraq as an adult. What does he consider home? How does he navigate his many identities? Why does he feel so passionately about teaching others how to tell and share their own stories on their own terms? Special thanks to WAER in Syracuse for the use of its studio to record this episode.

Bonus: Reclaiming the Refugee Narrative

In this stripped down conversation, Ahmed Badr speaks with Dr. Chioke I'Anson of the VPM+ICA Community Media Center about the ethics of storytelling, the power of creative platforms, and techniques for community-engaged media. They discuss how podcast producers can push back against the dominant singular, two-dimensional narratives around displacement, and instead share thoughtful and nuanced stories, all while informing the audience. Guests include Justin Gandy of the International Rescue Committee, as well as Fatimah, whose story was featured in the Education episode of Resettled.

Bonus: Language

One of the most common challenges refugees face is not speaking the language of their new country. You heard hints of this in some of the stories we told in Resettled: One of the first things that resettlement agencies in the U.S. recommend is taking English classes. We want to share a story about language from another podcast we think you'll like, called Neighbors. The show is a deep dive into the stories of ordinary people that reflect our common humanity. This particular episode, "The Language Learner," follows the story of a man who resettled with his family in Nashville, Tennessee after being forced from his home country of Myanmar—formerly known as Burma. This story was produced by Jakob Lewis in conjunction with Nashville Public Radio. Production assistance from Bailey Robbins. Edited by Emily Siner and Mack Linebaugh. Music by Podington Bear. To hear more stories from Neighbors, search in your favorite podcast app or go to

6. Resettled?

Do you ever truly feel resettled? What exactly does that mean, and how do you get there? For Mrs. Lailuma, a recent widow with children, arriving in Charlottesville, Virginia meant adapting not only to a new country, but also to a new family dynamic. The moment she felt like she'd be able to make it in America? Getting her driver's license. We also caught back up with the refugees featured earlier in the series, as we originally spoke with them as far back as 2018, to hear where they stand on the question of resettlement. Ahmed and Angela also reflect on the current state of immigration and refugee resettlement in the United States, driving home the importance of changing the perception of people arriving from other countries.

5. Culture

When you're so busy adopting new ways of life, it might not seem like there's any room for your traditions. So how do you carry your culture with you to a brand new place — and keep it intact? For Chef Noori, the creative process of Afghan cooking and writing poetry is one that he embraces both inside and outside his home. It's not just a lifestyle for Noori, it's his livelihood as well. His literal test kitchen for his American dream? It's called The Mantu.

4. Jobs

When Bhutan established a "one nation, one people" policy in the 1980s, Dadi Neopaney and his family had to flee or lose their way of life. Dadi grew up as a stateless refugee in camps before he and his wife and son were able to resettle in Richmond, Virginia. Dadi had been a teacher and a journalist before resettling, but all that experience counted for nothing when he arrived in the United States. He had to restart his career from scratch, wearing a costume and waving a sign on the side of the road. After working his way up through a variety of jobs, Dadi now had a Master's degree in social work and works as a hospital care manager, has earned his citizenship and remains hopeful of a day when he can legally return to his home country.

3. Health

While refugees are subjected to medical tests and scrutiny during their resettlement process, issues of mental health can last for decades or, left untreated, for lifetimes. In his early 20s, Ahmed Alsrya worked at a car wash to help support his family. He was glad to have a job, but felt like his life wasn't going anywhere. For a while, Ahmed's daily English was summed up in two words: "windows and wheels." Eventually, his rut became a depression, spurred by tough memories of being a refugee - like the time his Palestinian refugee camp caught fire; or the time his mother was shot; or losing friends to the war in Iraq. Today, Ahmed is out of his rut and jokingly refers to himself as a trauma specialist. In Charlottesville, he joined a group of concerned refugees who want to help their communities heal. Through special training, he is now helping peers break down the stigma of mental health and face their traumas together. He's also come full circle from that experience in the refugee camp and volunteers as a firefighter.

2. Education

Not a lot of teens are excited about being the "different" kid that stands out in high school. As a Muslim teen from Iraq, Fatimah is learning to navigate that typical experience: striking the balance between fitting in and being your own person. In her senior year at Harrisonburg High School, Fatimah decided to try out for the school play, which pushed her boundaries around sexuality and acceptance. Harrisonburg, Virginia is unique as well: there more than 50 languages and countries represented in Harrisonburg's public schools. Not every refugee teen experience is a positive one, but the overwhelming support and pride that the Harrisonburg community takes in its immigrants and refugees means that leaders prioritize their needs in a way that the federal government often doesn't.

1. Arrival

We follow the LahPai family through the first 90 days of their resettlement in Richmond, Virginia. Though their arrival was highly anticipated and their IRC staff member worked tirelessly to provide them with a strong foundation, the LahPai family arrived just in time for Thanksgiving...only for their heat to break. We pair their story with reflections on our host's own experience and discover how these moments can shape refugees' understandings of America. We also establish the need for creative problem-solving around other themes that the series will unpack: health, education, jobs, and culture.