Refugee Road Safety Education Day

By Kody Fisher

Published 06/27 2014 06:32PM

Updated 06/27 2014 06:34PM

The Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees will be hosting a safety education expo Saturday at the refugee center in downtown Utica.


Refugee's say getting around here is vastly different than in their home countries because of the types of transportation.

“Like animals, donkey's horses and camels, but here its cars.  You don’t see horses on the street or camels, so that’s a big difference," said Sudanese refugee Abdelshakour Khamis.

That big difference can lead to danger.

“The cost can be high.  We've had refugee children killed and injured in accidents that were preventable," said Alban Uryniak, the traffic and safety instructor for the refugee center.

Refugees said one of the biggest challenges can be language on the street signs.

“Even the car and symbol for them is different than the way people interpret here," said Khamis.

Saturday’s event isn’t just about learning the difference between a red, yellow, or green light.  It’s also a chance for refugees to learn about fire safety as well.

“It’s everything and it’s not just for refugees.  This event is a way for the refugee center can show we want to be a part of the community and support community education," said Uryniak.

Alban said it’s a perfect opportunity for the community to come together.

“Cultural communication isn’t just about the refugees learning about us.  It’s also learning about them and learning to work with them, because they are here.  They live here.  They're a great addition to the community.  Why not work with them and learn about them," said Uryniak.

Refugees say the centers traffic orientations are huge for new refugees.

“Traffic safety as a part of our cultural orientation is now maybe the second lesson here and makes a huge difference, because new people see it right in the center and the same that they use on the streets and it helps," said Khamis.

The safety education expo is Saturday from ten to three in the parking lot of the refugee center.

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