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I Welcome Refugees: 3 ways to take action

iwelcomerefugeesPresident Trump’s Executive Order has sparked concern for many people about the future of the refugee resettlement program. With 21 million refugees worldwide, the international community cannot ignore the desperate situations many families find themselves in. Resettlement is a way for a small number of these individuals to find safety and freedom.

Here at WTAP, we have had an outpouring of support from people across the political spectrum in support of refugees. Many of you are mobilized and want to “do something” to support refugees, but aren’t sure what is needed.

No matter where you live, here are three ways to turn that energy into productive action:

  1. Advocate– You have a voice. Make sure your legislators, state and federal, know that you support refugee resettlement. Share accurate information about the process, the refugees in your community, and personal stories.
  2. Become an Ambassador– We need all the help we can get spreading accurate information about refugees and the work we do to welcome and support them. Help us grow our tribe of community members mobilized to provide positive integration. Commit to invite 10 friends, family, co-workers, or business colleagues, to a WTAP tour or invite us to present to your group. Not from AZ, become a social media ambassador. Contact collin.cunningham@wtap.org to pledge your commitment.
  3. Donate– As long as there is the need, WTAP will continue to grow our programs to provide support and a warm welcome to refugee families. Now more than ever, community support is vital to refugee resettlement. Give generously to ensure that all refugees receive a dignified home and a neighborly welcome.

Deliveries: Feb 18-19, 2017

This weekend we will have 2 Deliveries taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, Feb 18

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Our first family is from Pakistan, consisting of a father, mother and their 5 daughters.  The father was a physics teacher in Pakistan, but the family began to be persecuted for their faith.  The father was kidnapped and beaten in an attempt to make him disavow his faith.  He escaped, but the family was then starved because the local shopkeepers were also being threatened by terrorists to not sell any food or items to family’s outside their faith.  They were able to escape to Sri Lanka, but were unable to work and relied on the good will of others for a home and basic needs.  They applied to the UN for refugee resettlement and  arrived in Phoenix 2 months ago. The family is very appreciative of the freedoms and opportunities now available to them.  Mostly, they are grateful to be safe from harm with a “very bright future”.  And they are especially pleased to be able to practice their religion without fear.

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Our second family is from Cuba and includes a father, mother, and their teenage daughter.  The wife was a chemist, working in food processing.  The father was a physician, who participated in Cuba’s Medical Professionals Program and sent to South Africa.  Cuba often assigns physicians to other countries in exchange for resources (oil, minerals, etc.).   The medical practitioners have no say in these matters.  They are treated as a commodity.  The family fled to Miami and was granted asylum before moving to Arizona 3 months ago.  The father is studying to be a licensed US nurse so that he can continue to work in the medical field.  The daughter is a very talented musician and has already enrolled in a charter school that has a music program.  This family, with their many talents, had to leave everything behind in Cuba in order to live freely and without economic hardship.  They arrived with almost no possessions but are very ready to work hard to pursue the American dream. 

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Our third family is from Somalia, consisting of a mother and her young daughter. The mother fled Somalia with her family 10 years ago and stayed in a refugee camp in Kenya.  The mother gave birth to her daughter in the camp, but suffered an injury during a medical procedure and is now paralyzed.  The father left the family when the daughter was injured and has not been involved since.  The mother and daughter arrived to Phoenix 3 months ago.  They still have many family in the refugee camp.  The mother is working on learning English until her daughter is enrolled in school, and she then plans to find work with the help of her resettlement agency.  The mother is glad to be in America because she feels it was the best chance for her daughter to have a good life.

Sunday, Feb 19

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Our first family is from the Central African Republic, consisting of a father, mother, their young son and toddler daughter.  The father worked as a salesman in Chad and learned some English through that job.  They fled CAR and stayed in a refugee camp in Chad.  The father was able to complete a few years of high school but left so he could work to help his younger brother’s primary education.  They arrived in Phoenix 6 months ago and both parents are working in food preparation.  The father was recently attacked and robbed and hospitalized on the way home from work.  They fortunately have made many friends in their apartment complex and they have been able to help with the children while he recovers.  Their resettlement agency is working to have their son enrolled in Head Start and the daughter enrolled in daycare soon.  The parents are very happy to be in America and grateful for the opportunities their children have in their new home, America. 

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Our second family is from Afghanistan, consisting of a father, mother, their two sons and a daughter, all teenagers. The father worked for the US Coalition, first on an Afghan Outreach Program for the US military, and then as a Provisional District Development Manager under the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  Because of his involvement with the US, he and his family were threatened by insurgents and the Taliban.  They were able to come to the US on a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), an expedited refugee program for Iraqis and Afghanis that have assisted the US Coalition.  They arrived in Phoenix 2.5 weeks ago!  They have friends from Afghanistan that were resettled to Phoenix a few years ago who have helped them by loaning them furniture for their home and transporting them places.  The father speaks proficient English, but hopes to work soon and develop his English skills and potentially transfer his accounting degree to the US.  The eldest son plans to learn English through their resettlement agency and then find work to help support the family.  He also wants to attend college in the future.  The two younger siblings will enroll in High School soon and both dream of becoming doctors.  The mother plans to be a homemaker and is grateful that her children will now be able to live safely and fulfill their educational and professional goals.

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Our third family is from Sudan consisting of a mother, her two sons and two daughters.  The family fled Sudan in 1989 and stayed in Jordan.  Her husband was deported back to Sudan in 2014 and the family returned with him, but the mother and children were unable to handle the political situation in Sudan and returned to Jordan shortly after.  The family arrived in Phoenix 8 months ago, the father remains in Sudan.  The mother has been working making baked goods, but the public transportation route she needed to take required her to be away from home 11 hours a day, and put too much responsibility on her older children.  She has two children with special needs, one with epilepsy and the other has sickle cell anemia.  She has some friends who are helping her find new employment, and potentially will begin working at the airport soon.  The mother hopes to continue improving her English and dreams of becoming a social worker.  All her children are in school, and they love it!  Her children are ambitious; her eldest daughter wants to be a dentist, her younger daughter hopes to be a doctor, and her older son wants to become a pilot.

Deliveries Feb 11, 2017

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Our first family is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), consisting of a mother, her 6 children, and their grandfather. They worked as maize farmers in DRC.  The grandmother and uncle were killed during the civil war in DRC and the family fled to Uganda, where they lived in a refugee camp for 12 years, 4 of the children were born in the camp.  Their father left the camp with another woman and lives in Tennessee.  They arrived in Phoenix 3 months ago and the children are enrolled in school.  The mother is learning English and hopes to find a job soon.

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Our second family is from Iraq, consisting of a father, mother and their young daughter.  The father worked in a restaurant in Iraq, and the mother was a homemaker.  They fled Iraq 3 years ago due to the ongoing violence and stayed in Turkey, where the father was able to work as a waiter until they were resettled to Phoenix almost 3 months ago.  They are learning English quickly, the father and mother have already begun working and hope to save enough money to buy a car soon.  The young daughter is very talkative and friendly and attends a preschool.  They are very grateful to be in America.

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Our third family is also from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), consisting of a mother and her 3 children.  The mother left DRC with 3 of her children 11 years ago and stayed in a refugee camp in Uganda.  She met a man in the refugee camp who helped protect and provide for them, and they had one child together who was born in the camp.  They arrived in Phoenix 4 years ago, but the father of the youngest child was not able to come with them to Arizona because they were not married and he is not a refugee.  The oldest daughter is currently working, the two middle children are attending school and the youngest stays home with mom but will begin school next Fall.  Mom has some health issues she is being treated for before she is able to work.  They are all very happy to be in America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deliveries: Feb 4, 2017

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All 3 of our families this week are from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Our first family consists of a grandmother, her son and her granddaughter.  17 years ago, when the son was very young, the father was killed, so the mother, and her 2 of her 3 sons fled to Uganda where they stayed in a refugee camp.  The 3rd son and his wife stayed in DRC but were later killed as well and their young daughter is now being cared for by her uncle and grandmother.  The other son was resettled to Phoenix at the same time with his own wife and young child.  They all arrived in Phoenix 3 months ago.  The granddaughter is enrolled in school and enjoying it.  She is learning English quickly and has made a few friends.  The son is not yet working, but is eagerly looking for a job to help his family.  He dreams of becoming a doctor later so that he can go back to Africa and help other refugees and to provide a good life for his niece.  The family’s favorite thing about America is the ability to have housing and to live safely, and also pizza!

Our second family consists of a mother, her adult twin daughters, adult son, and 2 young grandsons.  They arrived in Phoenix 2.5 months ago.

Our third family consists of a husband, wife, and their 7 children.  The mother and father left DRC over 20 years ago, fled to Uganda where they stayed in a refugee camp.  All of the children were born in the camp, where they were able to complete elementary school through a UNICEF program in the camp.  The parents both grew up in rural farming families in DRC and continued to farm once in Uganda.  They arrived in Phoenix 3 months ago, and the husband is working at a car rental company, washing and detailing cars; the mother and daughter are still looking for work with the help of their resettlement agency.  The rest of the children are enrolled in school and enjoying it.  The adult doctor dreams of becoming a doctor.  The parents dream of buying a car and house someday.