The first family is from Burma. The family is Rohingya, a minority population that is persecuted in Burma; there are many laws actually preventing them from owning businesses, going to school, practicing their religion (Islam), and even being given citizenship. As men are more viciously oppressed, the father fled first in 2006. The rest of the family- mother and 3 children (ages 16, 13, and 5) followed in 2008. They described taking a rickety boat from Burma to Thailand, and then moving on from Thailand to Malaysia. Sadly, laws in Malaysia prevent asylum seekers from attending school or working. Still, the father was able to secure landscaping work to earn some income for their family. Because of their oppressed status in all the places they have been until now, the children have never been allowed to attend school. Amazingly, their 13-year old son has managed to learn some English from friends, and the 16-year old daughter has learned some English by watching TV. The daughter has also taught herself basic writing skills. The parents are so happy to be in a safe place where their children will be able to go to school. They miss their family back in Burma and Malaysia, but are hopeful for their future here in Phoenix.
The second family is from Baghdad, Iraq. The father assisted the US military with electronics back in Iraq, and the family was forced to flee because of his involvement with our government. The family has only been in Phoenix for 2 weeks. They were originally sent to California, but could not find housing. After a rough couple of weeks, they made their way here, and are quite happy. They say the weather in Phoenix is a lot like Baghdad. The children are 10, 8, 5 and 3. The older 3 will start school very soon and they are excited. The father is anxious to begin working. The family dreams of one day owning their own home again. The grandmother dreams of one day bringing her other son, who is still in Iraq, to the USA so that the family can be together again.
You will have to get to know the third family on the delivery. No bio for them.
One family arrived to the US in July. They are from the Congo region of Africa and have spent the last 8 years in Uganda in refugee camp. The family includes a husband and wife in their early 30s, their 2 sons and 3 daughters, The children range in age from 2 to 13. The children have no memories other than their time in camp. The Congo is a warring region and too dangerous for the family to return home. The family appreciate the safety they now have in America and opportunities for the children to have a real home.
Another family is from Somalia and includes a mother, her 3 daughters and 4 sons. Somalia has little food and decades long fighting. The family fled to safety in Kenya and has been housed in refugee camp for many years. They look forward to school and work in America.
Our last family consists of a single male from Sudan. He fled Sudan to look for work and was living in Cairo, Egypt. Work in Egypt was hard and wages were very low, making it difficult for him to survive. Now in the US, he hopes to work in a skilled trade such as welding or construction.
Not able to volunteer this week? You can still support the delivery of furniture and household items to these families! Make a donation online to sponsor this delivery.
One family is from the Congo region of Africa. The family includes a mother, age 32, her son, age 15, and two daughters, age 11 and 4. They arrived to the United States in late April from a refugee camp in Rwanda. The mother left her Congo home as a young child. War in the Congo put her and her family in great danger and food was in very short supply. She and her family fled to Rwanda and found refuge in camp. That was 20 years ago. The mother lived most of her life in refugee camps. All three of her children were born in camps, and they have never been to their mother’s home in Congo. Their apartment in the United States is their first real home. The children look forward to school in America and to playing sports. The mother is pleased for her children’s safety and opportunity.
Our next family consists of two brothers in their twenties from Iraq. Iraq is dangerous, wrought with war, kidnappings, bombings, food and supply shortages, and constant fears. With help from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the brothers were able to gain passage to the United States. Their parents remain in Iraq, but the brothers hope to quickly find jobs and help their parents to join them in our country. In Iraq, one brother worked in human resources for a private US company and the other brother worked in an administrative position. Both learned English at university, one choosing it for his major. They also watched English language movies to improve their language skills. Although they have only been here a matter of weeks, the brothers are taking classes to help their transition and very actively seeking employment. They are very pleased to be in America and are appreciative of the opportunities our country offers.
This family is from Syria and includes a mother and her two children, a 23 year old daughter and teenage son. Civil war erupted in Syria in 2011, and the family has been running from danger ever since. The family fled Syria in 2012, traveling to Lebanon on foot and with few possessions. Refugees from Syria number in the millions and camps in that region are overrun. A Lebanese shelter provided temporary housing however the family had many restrictions on their movement and could not work In Lebanon. The family arrived to the US in late May. They see America as “the land of chances,” but know that their early days will be difficult. The mother was a school teacher in Syria. The daughter was a high achieving student and, prior to war, looked forward to university. In the US, the daughter hopes to continue her academic pursuits while working to support the family. The son looks forward to school so that he can learn and meet new friends.
An Afghani sister and brother are the first family we will visit. Their parents fled Afghanistan decades ago, settling in Pakistan where these young people were born and lived their lives until the country became inhospitable to outsiders. Their father died in Pakistan before the family could be relocated; their mother returned to Afghanistan where an older son and his family still live. Able to work as a seamstress and to attend classes part time while in Pakistan, the sister (now 20) hopes to find work soon and to get back to school. Her brother (14) looks forward to starting school here this fall.
Our next family came from Somalia. There are four children, a boy of 1 and three girls 3, 5, and 7 years old. A worry right now is how to make the bunk bed safer for two of the girls, who tend to fall out at night. Although presently in a one-bedroom apartment, they hope to be moved to a larger on soon.
Our third delivery will be to another Afghani family. After escaping Afghanistan, they lived in Kyrgyzstan for nine years. This mother and father have three children, a son (16) and two daughters ( 15 and 8 years old).