Our first family is a family of 4 who arrived in Phoenix in January. The father and mother are both in their early 50’s and left careers in business management and chemical technology, respectively. They left Iraq four years ago because their son, who was then 16, was kidnapped for ransom. Masked intruders beat and threw the mother down in their home and took the son. He was beaten for three days until the family, including extended family, was able to come up with the ransom money at which time he was fortunately released. They fled to Syria and lived there for four years. They were unable to find work and their family sent them money to survive. They are very happy to be in the United States. They are excited that their son is in college studying English and hopes to one day be an architect. Their teen daughter hopes to be a dentist. They are such a lovely, hopeful, and grateful family.
Our second family is young with three beautiful children. They have a 3 year old girl, a 2 year old boy, and a 10 day old boy. A few years ago the father began working for the US Army where they taught him English. Then he was working for the US Marines when he noticed he was being followed to and from work and elsewhere. He realized the insurgents and Al Queda were putting him and his family in danger. The UNCR helped them flee to eastern Turkey where they lived for a year. They arrived in Phoenix last August. He is presently employed as a security guard at the apartment complex where they live. They also are very happy to be here and appreciate feeling safe.
Our third family is a woman with a 10 year old daughter and her invalid sister. The woman’s husband was murdered and these women were able to flee to Egypt. From there they arrived in Phoenix in February of last year. They have many needs and are being helped by Lutheran Social Services as well as the IRC. The daughter is enjoying school and has special hearing needs. The sisters are both studying English at Phoenix community college. They are so happy to be here and couldn’t say enough times how much they love America and how generous and giving the people here are.
This Iraqi family has been in Phoenix for over two months via Syria where they lived for five years. The father was a manufacturing engineer and was kidnapped twice before the family were forced to flee with their four young children – two of whom were under the age of 1! The whole family was home because the three eldest children are on Spring Break from school. The father told us that his children love going to school and have made some friends – he also said that the children love the open playground areas and the nicer teachers at our American schools. The mother lived in New York for four years when she was a young child so her english was very good. Both the Father and the Mother are very happy to be in America, they want their children to receive a good education and a good life. The father is still looking for work but has already volunteered his free time until he finds work to help the IRC and new refugees arriving in Phoenix. The family now lives in North Scottsdale to be near the father’s sister, who has been here for 16 months already.