Humanizing the word “refugee”

Unpacked: Refugee Baggage is a multimedia art installation project that sculpturally re-creates rooms, homes, buildings and landscapes that have suffered the ravages of war.  Each installation is embedded with the voices and stories of real people — from Afghanistan, Congo, Syria, Iraq and Sudan — who have escaped those same rooms and buildings to build a new life in America.

Our founder, Fereshteh, was one of the refugees featured in Unpacked. 

If you ask Fereshteh when her birthday is, she will smile, and tell you that she was born on the day she arrived in America. Originally from Afghanistan and raised in Iran, Fereshteh believes in the power of education.  Her story starts at the tender age of twelve, when she founded a secret school in her basement to provide education to other Afghani refugee children who were barred from the school system due to their citizenship status.  

Fereshteh’s suitcase shows the interior of her secret basement-turned-school.  The suitcase used for her piece belonged to her mother. 

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