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Family Bios: January 9, 2016

 

600px-Flag_of_Afghanistan.svgThis visit will be for a single man, age 29, from Afghanistan who has been here 1 month.  He speaks very good English due to working for an American corporation and assisting the US special forces during the war.  He was no longer safe in Afghanistan due to his work and was able to get a special visa and green card quickly in order to escape to safety.  He still has family in Afghanistan and worries about their safety.  He is hopeful they will be able to join him at some point.  He was many work skills  hopes to find a job very soon. He feels fortunate to be near a cousin of his that has been here for 5 years.

 

Flag_of_Bhutan.svgThe next family is from Bhutan, but has been in a refugee camp for 23 years in Nepal.  The 3 children ages, 9, 11 and 15 were all born in the refugee camp and do not know life outside of it.  The mother and father are 40 and 43, respectively, and also have other family living with them that are both age 65.  They left Bhutan due to concern for their safety and political strife in the country.  They have been waiting to go back home to Bhutan, but it is not safe for them so eventually they pursued the opportunity for resettlement in the U.S.  This process started in 2006. The children are very excited to start school in the next couple of weeks, and the father is getting his orientation from the resettlement agency to learn interview skills and how to apply for jobs.  He is very willing to do any kind of work.  The family is starting to learn English.  They all feel much safer here and like their new home very much, as it is much more than they had in the refugee camp.

 

mexican flagWe will also visit a 20 year old male from Mexico.  He came through the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program when he was 16.  He is a full time high school student, but struggles, and works part-time at a restaurant. He recently moved into his own apartment.

Volunteer Spotlight: Quteiba Al-Timeemy

Quteiba “Q” Al-Timeemy: Communications Committee Intern

How long have you been volunteering with WTAP?IMG_1569
I’ve been a volunteer for almost 4 months now. I started with WTAP as a service learning project for school but I’ve grown very attached to WTAP’s vision and mission, so I decided to stay on board. 
 
Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working with WTAP?
Everyone I’ve met at WTAP is so extraordinary. The amount of compassion the volunteers have cannot be measured with words. I refuged from Iraq to America in the mid 90’s so I know how scary it is to be a refugee. To find so many who care about the position that people like my family and I were in is beyond amazing. 
 
Why do you choose to donate your time to WTAP?
At first, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started my school project with WTAP, but after a few days and speaking to some of the volunteers, it was clear that I wanted to be here. It’s incredibly difficult to know what a refugee goes through, even for me being a refugee, my story to me seems to be unreal. That first time I did a delivery and spoke to a Iraqi refugee and saw how happy they were even after everything they went through, I knew I was at the right place. 
 
Describe an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference. 
The first delivery I did was truly exceptional. Not just the part where we delivered everything they needed, or set it up to their liking, but to actually take time to speak to them and get to know them. It’s hard to find people that are truly interested in lives of total strangers but the amount of compassion and support that the volunteers showed on that day and gratitude that refugees displayed really showed I was at the right place. 
 
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I am a prelaw student and work full time so I tend to stay busy. If I find any free time I’m usually working out or hiking or playing a pick up soccer or basketball game. 
 
What secret powers or talents do you have?
My secret powers include flying and having a mystery solving intuition but that’s a secret, so shhhhh. Not much of a secret power though is honestly just trying to make people smile. I think a smile is contagious so I try my best to spread it.

January 2, 2015

Flag of Cuba.svg  The first woman we will visit is from Cuba. She came to Arizona in July with her cousin. She left the rest of her family in Cuba. In her home county she worked as a phlebotomist. She enjoyed her work tremendously. She is already certified to work in the United States as a phlebotomist, but she needs to improve her English language skills before she will be able to find employment. In the interim she is working as a cashier. She is happy to be in the United States, and glad that her cousin is with her. She misses her family, and hopes they can come here soon too.

Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Another family we will visit is a young Afghan couple who arrived in Arizona on November 20, 2015. They were married only two months ago. The husband worked as a combat linguist for an American unit for three years, until his services were no longer needed because of the U.S troop drawdown. He went into combat situations with his unit and often worked in dangerous situations. He received death threats by phone because of his involvement with the Americans, which forced him to leave his country. He also left because of the lack of employment and educational opportunities in Afghanistan. His parents, five brothers and five sisters remain in his country. His visa was issued almost a year ago but he waited ten additional months for his wife’s visa to be processed. She had completed high school and had a few months left to complete her teaching degree when they left their country. She is the youngest of three daughters and left her siblings and her parents in Afghanistan. The wife’s relationship with her mother was very close, so her separation from her family has been very stressful and she feels rather isolated in Arizona. However, she is looking forward to a bright future in the Unitd States: she will be enrolled in ESL classes and hopes to go to college to become a teacher. Her husband is currently applying for jobs. He also hopes that his wife will be able to complete her degree; and that he will also be able to attend the university here. He graduated from high school and learned English in the private schools he attended. The husband has two friends in the area who offer some social support for the couple.

Flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.svg    The third family we will visit is a family of nine from the Congo. The father is forty-four years old and the wife is forty-one years old. There are seven children: three sons (ages 19, 15 and 13) and four daughters (ages 24, 10, 8 and 5). The eight year old daughter has Down syndrome. The family fled the Congo due to the Civil War, fleeing to Rwanda then to Kenya. The family arrived in Phoenix  on two different days, in October and November of 2015. In their county the father was a pastor and the wife helped with church duties. The school aged children will attend school after they receive their immunizations. The father would like to become a pastor in the United States. He enjoys music and plays the guitar and piano. The family is very glad to be in Phoenix where they are confident they will have a better life.

Flag of Myanmar.svg    A fourth family we will visit is a family of six from Burma. The father is forty-three years old and the wife is forty-six years old. They have four children: two sons (ages 17 and 15) and two daughters (ages 19 and 10). The family fled Burma due to discrimination which affected their quality of life. They were surviving on a small amount of money that the government gave them. They fled from Burma to Malaysia because they felt that they could survive by blending in with the local community in Malaysia. The father worked in construction and the mother worked part time cleaning homes. The children were not allowed to attend school when they lived in Burma, but they did attend school in Malaysia. Because of their lack of access to education, the nineteen year old daughter is in the 8th grade, the seventeen year old son is in the 7th grade, the fifteen year old son is in the 4th grade and the ten year old daughter is in the 1st grade. The husband has found a job, and he will start work in a week. The family is happy to be in the United States! They all feel that this will be a golden opportunity for the family and a great educational opportunity for the children.

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren Abraham

Lauren Abraham: Communications Committee Intern

Lauren AbrahamHow long have you been volunteering with WTAP?
I started volunteering with WTAP in October, so it bas been about a month now.

Tell me about some of the people you’ve met while working with WTAP?
While working with WTAP, I have had the privilege of meeting the members of the Communications Committee. It has been fascinating to see the behind-the-scenes workings of the organization, and getting to know the individuals who take on different roles to make everything run smoothly. In addition, it has been inspiring to see the passion these individuals have for helping refugees feel welcome coming to America.

Why do you choose to donate your time to WTAP?
I am a social media intern for WTAP. I find information that sheds a positive light on refugees coming to America, and post on the organization’s Facebook and Twitter pages. This has been a great experience, because I have been able use and apply my knowledge of social media, as well as learn information about refugees and their stories. I have enjoyed reading inspiring stories about refugees who have found success because of their hard work, despite the hardships they have had to overcome.

Describe an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.  
I have not yet helped with a delivery, but through helping the organization with their social media, I feel I have made a difference. I think finding and sharing stories about refugees gives them a voice that they may not otherwise have. I believe refugees deserve to be recognized for their hard work and the challenges they have overcome.

What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I am currently a student at Grand Canyon University, and I live on campus. While I am not volunteering, I am busy with schoolwork and other various activities I am involved in, such as being part of the National Communication Honors Society. I am also busy planning for a mission trip I will be going on in the spring to the Navajo reservation. In my free time, I enjoy relaxing and spending time with my family and friends.

What secret powers or talents do you have?
I would not say I have any secret powers (although I wish I did), but one of my talents is that I love to write. This is something I have been passionate about since I was very young, and I hope to incorporate it into my career one day.