TMSG: Local Gardens Are Making Refugees Feel At Home - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

TMSG: Local Gardens Are Making Refugees Feel At Home

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(WLNS) - In celebration of World Refugee Day St. Vincent Catholic Charities of Lansing is sharing local experiences of people and families now living in mid-Michigan and finding success both personally and professionally.

Evan Pinsonnault introduces us to one former refugee making the most of his love for gardening.

It was his favorite place to be when he lived in Bhutan; the garden. Now Som Chapagain goes there everyday outside his apartment in Lansing.

He says, "I thought it would be more better for me and our garden people."

Som organizes the garden project there for refugees like himself, teaching them how to plant and grow vegetables native to their home countries and improve their communication skills.

"They were very much interested in finding the place where they could grow a little bit."

"They enjoy being able to do what they know and love," says Judi Harris, STVCC director of refugee services.

She says Som lived in a camp outside Nepal for 19 years after being forcibly removed from his homeland with 150,000 other countrymen. He relocated to Michigan in 2010 thanks to St. Vincents, bringing his family and skills as a farmer to his new Lansing life.

She adds, "We encourage all our new arrivals to do that because it helps with their mental state, it's very physical and they're outside doing with it with members of their own community"

A community Som is proud to be a part of and now a leader in.

He says, "I was motivated to help them more and more."

Firmly planted with friends, family and fellow refugees just like his garden.

Glad to tell you something good for World Refugee Day.... I'm Evan Pinsonnault.

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