Family Bios: June 18, 2016

Flag_of_Myanmar.svgShe is from Burma, and was in detention for few years in Malaysia. She came to the United States on May 26, 2016, and was placed in Chicago. She didn’t know anyone there and decided to move to Arizona because of the large Burmese community and weather. Her roommate also came with her to Arizona. She wants to go to school and find a job to become self-sufficient.



Flag_of_the_Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo.svgThis man and his wife and 4 children came to Arizona 4 months ago. Originally they are from Congo, but lived in a refugee camp in Uganda. They escaped their country because of civil war. His children are going to school, the wife is not working currently but she is looking for a job. The husband is disabled. They like Arizona, but don’t like the hot weather during summer time.



Flag_of_Iran.svgThese two are roommates. One came to the United States in January 2016. He is from Iran and lived in Turkey for 4 years. He was a soccer coach and soccer player. He is working now and wants to be a coach in the future. His roommate came to the US two months ago. He is also from Iran and lived in Turkey. He was a chef, and is now  working at a restaurant. Both of them like Arizona and want to stay here.

Family Bios: June 11, 2016

Flag_of_Iran.svgThis family of four originates from Shiraz, Iran, having joined us in the US in early April.  So far, they love “everything” about life in the US and are eagerly looking forward to learning English and fully acclimating.  Grandma lives with the family in the two bedroom apartment.  Mom is busy at home with her 6 year old daughter who loves Barbie dolls and the color pink.




Flag_of_Iraq.svgThis family of six has lived apart more than together in recent years due to the Father’s job assisting the US Military in Iraq.  The oldest son lives in Washington and the Father was brought to the US on a visa – he continues traveling between the US and Iraq working on water irrigation projects and civil affairs.  After two kidnapping attempts of his family members, he moved them to Jordan for safety until they were brought to Phoenix as refugees in mid-May.  Mom, two sons and an adult daughter reside together here.  The daughter, 24 has a Management Information Systems degree and is looking for a job.  She loves swimming, going to the gym and the color black.  The middle son, 14, likes video games and working out, while the youngest loves soccer, video games and music.  They are delighted to be starting a new life in Arizona.


syrian flagThis family is from Syria, and they fled to Turkey in 2013 because of the fighting in their city of Aleppo.  The father has an associate degree in engineering and worked as an assistant engineer in Syria but was able to find only a job in a laundry when the family settled in Istanbul.  He was paid $400 a month and found it very difficult to support his family on this income.  The family arrived in Arizona directly from Turkey on 29 April.  The wife who is 38 years old is a full time homemaker.  She is unable to work as their older son, age 13, is disabled and on the autism spectrum.  The parents state that he was never able to see a neurologist in Syria, and they are very pleased that he has an appointment now to be evaluated.  Their younger son is 8, and the caseworker referred to him as also having some medical problems  Neither child was able to go to school when the family lived in Turkey.  The family members are eager to learn English although the father has some knowledge of the language.  The father has just received his social security card and passed his driver’s exam last week.  The wife has a cousin in this area who arrived at the same time they did.  The rest of husband’s family is in Istanbul, and his wife’s family is still in Syria.  The parents’ dream is to get medical treatment for their older son and to have both of their children educated in America.

Family Bios: June 4, 2016

WTAP will deliver to 6 families on Saturday. Read 5 of the 6 families’ stories here:

DRC flagOne family we will visit is from the DRC. The mother (38) escaped the DRC when she was 20 years old. She lived in a refugee camp in Rwanda for 18 years. It was in the camp that she met and married her husband (43) and where they had their 5 children: 4 girls (ages, 12, 9, 7 and 11 months) and one son (13). The family has been in Phoenix just over a month. Four of the children were able to go to school for this last month, and the father is taking English classes in hopes of getting a job soon. On the day of the home visit, the mother, the 11 month old and the son were at home. When asked what they liked best about being in the USA, the son said he liked that he could play and the mother stated that she was happy to be able to pray.



syrian flagAnother family we will visit is from Syria. The father (49) and mother (44) have 4 daughters (ages 21, 16, 15, and 5) and 3 sons (ages 20, 13, 11). In Syria, the father worked as an administrator at the university. The oldest son had gained certification to be a dental technician. The other children were in school. The family fled Syria in 2013 because of intense bombing in their area. They escaped to Jordan where they lived for 3 years. In Jordan, the 20-year old son worked in a supermarket and the 21-year old daughter was a teacher’s assistant in a day care; the father was unable to work.  The other children were able to attend special schools for refugees. The family described the vetting process to be accepted as a refugee to the USA. First, the entire family went through 2 sets of interviews with the United Nations representatives. They also underwent a second set of 2 interviews with the IOM (International Organization for Migration). Then, each family member had to submit to a complete health examination. After passing all these, they were informed that they would be resettled in the USA. The family described being here as both good and bad: they are very sad to have left so much family behind, but they are happy to be together and safe. They have one cousin here in the USA, in Washington. They were particularly excited about an uncle who is scheduled to arrive for resettlement here on June 6; he will be living in Virginia.

600px-Flag_of_Afghanistan.svgThis family arrived from Afghanistan just a few weeks ago.  The family includes a husband and wife and their two young children, ages 1 and 3.  The husband is a former airport employee who took a position assisting the US military as a translator.  While his work in battle zones was dangerous, it also proved dangerous to the family. Because of his association with our military, the family were threatened and at risk of retaliation from opposing forces.  They lived in constant fear of violence against them.  The family had to flee their home.  They did not go to refugee camps.  Instead, the US government helped them to leave Afghanistan.  Now in the US, they wish for a happy and safe life.  They also see a brighter, safer future for their children.



600px-Flag_of_Afghanistan.svgThis family arrived from Afghanistan about 6 weeks ago.  The family consists of a mother and her six children, ages 3, 7, 9, 10, 14 and 15.  They fled war conditions in their home country, Afghanistan.   The family spent almost ten years in refugee camps located in Pakistan.  At some point, the mother became separated from her husband and his current whereabouts are unknown.  The mother supported the family by doing domestic work, mostly cleaning houses.  She has family who remain in refugee camps.  She considers the US her second home and knows that living here will be best for her children.



SomaliaFlagThe final family arrived in the US about two months ago.  The family includes a mother and her five children, ages 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19.  Originally from Somalia, they spent more than five years in Ugandan refugee camps.  The family appreciates the safety and opportunity that they will find in the US.

Family Bios: May 21, 2016

Flag_of_Iran.svgThis brother and sister pair are from Teheran, Iran and have been in Phoenix four months.  At home, the sister was in school completing university and the brother worked as a notary.  They have an older brother who has been in Arizona for years.  Both speak English well and have already found jobs a major grocery chain in the deli and Starbucks departments.  What they love most about the US is how easy it is to find a job, and the many opportunities they have to create a successful life.  They also appreciate the respect for differences shown in America whether it be religious views, ethnic/cultural differences or simply different ways of looking at the world.  Their goal is to become independent and successful.  She likes movies especially romance and comedy and getting outside to walk and experience nature.  He plays the guitar – or at least is teaching himself to via you-tube videos.  Both are athletic – she loves swimming and he is into boxing.


Flag_of_Ethiopia.svgFour men from Ethiopia in their twenties and thirties were thrown together by fate in an apartment complex in the US.  None of them knew each other beforehand and after a couple of months they have become fast friends.  The younger two men had been in school, one worked in a supermarket.  They are studying English and will then look for jobs in the US.  The love the freedom of speech we enjoy here and believe in the great opportunities we have to create the lives we each want for ourselves.  Their primary goal is to get jobs quickly so they can support themselves and become more independent.  They love to watch and play soccer, with Germany a particularly favorite team.



flag_Kenya2This young man joins us in Phoenix from the islands off Nairobi, arriving just last week in the US.  He is one of the roommates in this home. He is cheerful, funny, optimistic and speaks excellent English.  He is already looking for a job, ideally in the IT space.  In Nairobi he sold biscuits and water as a street vendor and also worked to provide internet services.  He would love to have his family join him here some day.  His parents are still in Somalia and he has a brother who was moved to the UK as part of a refugee relocation program.  He loves both playing and watching soccer.  He is excited to find a way to learn to swim, play basketball and become more fit by joining a gym.  What he most loves about the US is that he has the opportunity to learn and build a future for himself.