Tag Archives: Cham Community

Salima Specialties Reopens in Skyway

by Ronnie Estoque

Salima Specialties brings the flavors of India, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand to its new Skyway location. Serving an impressive halal menu of Southeast Asian cuisine — including satay chicken skewers, banh mi, samosas, soups, and curries — Salima Specialties is one of the few Cham restaurants in the area. Cham people are an ethnic group in Cambodia and Vietnam, tracing their ancestry back to the historic Kingdom of Champa. Fleeing Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge and the Vietnam War, Muslim Cham refugees began to arrive in Seattle in 1978 and have developed a tight-knit community in South Seattle. 

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Cham Refugees Community Awaits Approval to Build New Gathering Space

by Ronnie Estoque

The Cham Refugees Community (CRC), a local nonprofit organization that provides educational, social, and cultural services to Cham and other ethnic minorities in South Seattle, is in the proposal process of upgrading their building space into a 12,000-square-foot community center and religious space. Throughout the years, the CRC has been able to acquire property at 5945 39th Avenue South, as well as four other residential properties adjacent to their address. The proposal has been in the works for years through grassroot efforts by local Cham community members pitching in for the property purchases.

“The elderly and the families continue to still donate despite struggling because it was very important to have a space to meet,” Sarya Sos, CRC’s program manager, said. “We don’t do interest in our community because we follow kind of the Muslim kind of teachings … and so borrowing money with interest is out of the picture.”

Members of the Cham community who had extra cash set aside pooled together money to purchase the five properties over a span of 40 years, with the CRC eventually repaying, with no interest, those who sought repayment; others saw it as an opportunity solely to donate to building a space for gathering. As they have grown, the CRC has identified the need to expand their community space to increase their services and programming, which largely focus on youth and the elderly.

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PHOTO ESSAY: Cham Community Gathers for Annual Night Market and Soccer Tournament

by Ronnie Estoque

Cham Refugees Community (CRC) gathered for its annual Night Market and Soccer Tournament this past Friday, July 23, and Saturday, July 24. The Night Market was held on the CRC’s property on 39th Avenue South, which is currently in the process of securing necessary funds to begin development of a new community center space. Local businesses, such as Champa Brand and Rayyan’s Kuih, were amongst the many vendors during the event that sold clothing and food. King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay made an appearance at the event on Saturday. 

The Soccer Tournament was played on the turf of Brighton Playfield, which opened in June of 2020. The games drew large crowds of fans rooting for various local teams, such as Cham South West and Cham Tacoma. The playing conditions were perfect on Saturday with wind and rain being absent from the field. The sun shone brightly as cheers from fans filled up the area.

Those interested in donating towards the development of a new CRC community center can contact Cham Community Center project coordinator Slayman Appadolo via email at slayman@crcseattle.org. The CRC is also accepting donations via PayPal (CCC@crcseattle.org).

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