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Emerge Gala

Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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  • Kabonyi Sebasigari, Marie-Jeanne Gakona, and Jennifer Sebasigari

    Kabonyi Sebasigari, Marie-Jeanne Gakona, and Jennifer Sebasigari (Photo: Right Time Solutions)

  • Edith Constant Ngoula and Teresa O'Donnell

    Edith Constant Ngoula and Teresa O'Donnell (Photo: Right Time Solutions)

  • Kabonyi Sebasigari, Marie-Jeanne Gakona, and Jennifer Sebasigari
  • Edith Constant Ngoula and Teresa O'Donnell

On World Refugee Day, June 20, the first Emerge Gala took place with the goal to raise funds for Emerge, a local organization that helps the Houston refugee community. Founded by culinary chef Jennifer Sebasigari, Emerge hosts events that raise awareness of the refugees that live in our communities, the challenges they face, and contributions they make. During the gala, held at Pelazzio, emcee Ivory Hecker interviewed Sebasigari, who shared her story of adapting to life in the U.S. as a refugee from the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The event also included speakers Jacquelyn Aluotto, human rights activist and anti-trafficking specialist; Angela Zeng, PhD, founder and CEO of Karuna Beverages; and Michael Bociurkiw, author and global affairs analyst. Guests heard a testimonial from Rich Love, a recording artist and human-trafficking survivor. Plant It Forward was honored with the Nonprofit Organization of the Year Award. Accepted by Edith Constant Ngouala, the award recognized the organization’s efforts in refugee education and entrepreneurship. The United Nations was named the Refugee Organization of the Year Award. Proceeds go to Plant It Forward and the United Nations’ Human Rights Fund.

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Kabonyi Sebasigari, Marie-Jeanne Gakona, and Jennifer Sebasigari

Kabonyi Sebasigari, Marie-Jeanne Gakona, and Jennifer Sebasigari (Photo: Right Time Solutions)

Edith Constant Ngoula and Teresa O'Donnell

Edith Constant Ngoula and Teresa O'Donnell (Photo: Right Time Solutions)

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