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Colorado Edition: ‘Newcomers Welcome’ episode 2

A man with dark hair wearing a dark jacket and pants stands next to a woman wearing a jean jacket and orange skirt. They are standing in a room surrounded by brown bags and boxes of food.
Stephanie Daniel
Bhim Bhattarai, a pantry services assistant at Village Exchange Center, stands in food pantry with his coworker Vestine Niyonkuru. He was born in Bhutan but spent his childhood as a refugee in Nepal before being resettled in Aurora in 2014.

On this special episode of Colorado Edition, we highlight the new season of The Colorado Dream podcast called “Newcomers Welcome.” The series explores the Black immigrant experience in Colorado as told through the eyes of one African immigrant and Aurora, as the city - and its residents - strive to become an inclusive home for all.

Featured Segment

Aurora is one of the most diverse cities in Colorado. In fact, about one in five residents is foreign born. Over half came from the Americas, mainly Mexico. After that the largest groups hail from Ethiopia, Vietnam, Korea, El Salvador and India. To help immigrants and refugees succeed, the city created an integration plan. It was among the first in the country to do so.

“Our city leaders at the time, intentionally they (made) a very important decision,” said Ricardo Gambetta, manager of Aurora’s Office of International and Immigrant Affairs. “They realize that in the last 20 years, we have a new face of the city.”

Aurora created an integration plan to help immigrants and refugees succeed. What does that plan look like? Meanwhile, more than 15 years earlier, Salwa Mourtada Bamba gets a job and enrolls at the local community college as she settles into her new life in Aurora.

To implement the integration plan, Aurora partners with dozens of organizations including Village Exchange Center. The non-profit supports immigrant and refugee communities with a range of services including the Natural Helpers Program which is staffed by volunteers who are immigrants themselves.

“The natural helpers are like this bridge between their country and here,” said José Gómez , who manages the Natural Helpers Program. “ I feel that one of the biggest things that has kept our immigrant or refugee community, you can say down, is the lack of knowledge.”

The Colorado Dream: Newcomers Welcome episode two examines the city’s immigrant integration plan. Meanwhile, more than 15 years earlier, Salwa Mourtada Bamba gets a job and enrolls at the local community college as she settles into her new life in Aurora.


Colorado Edition is hosted by Yoselin Meza Miranda and produced by the KUNC newsroom, led by news director Sean Corcoran. Web was edited by digital operations manager Ashley Jefcoat. 

The mission of Colorado Edition is to deepen understanding of life in Northern Colorado through authentic conversation and storytelling. It's available as a podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions.