Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, over five million people have fled the country. Of those, 21,000 have been accepted into the USA, with 372 finding themselves in Baltimore. Created by award winning filmmaker Alexandra Shiva, This is Home follows four Syrian families who have left their country and are taking their first steps towards a new future in Baltimore.
The film documents their initial experiences working with The Baltimore International Rescue Committee (IRC), an organization that provides families with 8 months of assistance to become self-sufficient. This is Home captures the intimate and varied struggles faced by Syrian refugees coming to a foreign city in a foreign country. We follow the families as they navigate new lives, from wading throughendless yogurt options in the supermarket or coming to terms with four hour commutes on public transportation, to dealing with racism and new gender roles.
A moving, informative film for not only Americans but for Baltimoreans, This is Home examines the systematic operations, bureaucracies and lack of social services that we are not often conscious of from the inside. In the midst of the travel ban that Trump imposed in January 2017, one IRC employee expresses with grief, “We want to be the greatest country in the world, but we don’ treat people like we’re the greatest country in the world.”
Alexandra Shiva has delicately balanced the challenging refugee experience of relocation and displacement, cultural differences, and the PTSD symptoms of war with a sensitive reflection of humanity, strength, and the power of community. (Margaret Rorison).
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