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Community newspaper seeks to work through Buffalo immigrants' language barrier

Eileen Buckley, WBFO

A newly-launched community newspaper aims to serve Buffalo's immigrant population by providing news and other information in multiple languages, in an effort to get those who have not yet mastered English more involved in the public.

That newspaper is known as Karibu, which means "welcome" in Swahili.

The newspaper's manager and publishing editor, Rubens Mukunzi, explained that in its earliest issues Karibu will print most of its information in English but over time, with the help of suggestions and submissions, the newspaper will provide information in numerous languages.

"When we get here, we have a barrier of language, and we don't have enough information to what's going on in Buffalo," said Mukunzi, a native of Rwanda. "As I used to be generous in my country, I want to help immigrants from different countries who come up here with how they can get information about jobs, information about society, more and more information."

Assisting Mukunzi with the launch is Tyler Bagwell, the newspaper's creative director and an individual who moved back to Buffalo, saw Mukunzi's ad online and, after meeting, decided to get involved.

"I think, for both of us, what we see in it is that - and as we go around and talk to people and what their goals as social organizations are - is to pair these communities together and get the communities to well off in and of themselves, but also to unite the communities, specifically the refugee communities," said Bagwell.

A sample issue was released last week. Over time, Mukunzi said, plans call for an online edition as well. First, though, he is seeking community input to get the print edition off the ground and growing. Submissions can be sent to karibunews@gmail.com.

Note: WBFO's Eileen Buckley contributed to this report.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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