Large families and hard work are nothing new to Dola Sitare.
While growing up in Kinsha, Congo, Dola – the youngest in her family – cooked, cleaned and ran errands for a household of 17 family members.
Years later, after Dola and her four children came to America as refugees in 2010, Dola faced navigating a new language and culture, finding a job and single-parenting her kids until her husband, Rizo, could be cleared to travel overseas to join the family.
Once Rizo was able to re-join them, Dola decided to give back by becoming a foster parent for LSSND’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program, providing long-term support for refugee youths who arrive in the U.S. without a parent or guardian. Soon after, Dola received a request to take in a family – and it was a big one: six kids, with the youngest just 4 years old.
Dola felt right at home surrounded by kids and family members, so she said yes. “It’s normal to me,” says Dola, who also works as an office coordinator at LSSND. “I knew I could handle it.”
Dola will share her amazing story this Thursday during our third A Taste of the World event, an annual celebration of global food, art and culture that helps to raise money for LSSND Humanitarian Assistance. This service area handles immigration and refugee services, help for victims of labor-trafficking (as refugees and recent immigrants are more vulnerable to this type of exploitation), and North Dakota disaster relief.
Her journey will be just one highlight in an evening that also includes:
Delicious global foods, ranging from sambusa, chicken tandoori, beef shawarma and kung pao chicken to rugelach, baklava and Middle Eastern cookies. The food will be prepared by local restaurants, BernBaum’s, Everest Tikka House, A&M Bakery, Rugsan Cuisine, Ishtar Mediterranean Cuisine, Gorkha Palace and Mandarin Kitchen.
A silent auction of multi-cultural art, including the work of McKnight Fellowship-winning ceramic artist Guillermo “Memo” Guardia, and several oil-and-acrylic pieces created by Adam Kemp, a British expatriate, Grand Forks artist and long-time supporter of the refugee community.
A multi-media performance by Somali refugee/acclaimed artist Ifrah Mansour, who typically interweaves film, puppetry, poetry and installations to convey her thought-provoking messages.
The event is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the LSSND Fargo Program Center, 3911 20th Ave. S., with dinner at 7 p.m.
"A Taste of the World" will be brought to you by the Harold and Dorothy Madson Foundation. Other major sponsors include Bremer Bank and Cardinal IG. Tickets are $50. This is an adult-only event; spirits will be served. Learn more about A Taste of the World or reserve tickets at