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Family Bios: August 19, 2017

We’ll meet a 28 year old from Congo. He left with his family because of the war and accompanying violence. They fled to Rwanda in 1996 and stayed in the refugee camp until 2015, when they were accepted to come to the United States. They settled in Illinois, where his family continues to live. He decided to come to Arizona with a friend in March 2017. He lives in a studio apartment and bought himself an air mattress to sleep on. He figured out public transportation and quickly found a job. He loves soccer.  He misses his family. He is appreciative for the help from WTAP.

 

We’ll meet a family from Afghanistan. The father (37) came to the U.S. in 2006 for special training to work with the U.S. army. As he continued his work in Afghanistan, he and his family began receiving threats on their lives. Life was too dangerous to reamin. This year, he relocated to Arizona with his wife (31) and their six children, ages 3 to 12. With exception of the youngest, the children have started school and are enjoying it. (The youngest is sad to see them go off to school and wants to go with them each morning.) The parents are grateful that the children will be able to get a good education. Dad is looking for a job. The thing they miss the most from their country are the family members that remain in Afghanistan.

And we will meet a family from Iraq. The mother (42) lost her husband and fled with her two children to Turkey, where they lived for two years. The family arrived to Arizona in August of 2016. Her son is 18, going to school and working part time. Her daughter is 15 and attending school. She also has a son in Turkey and three in Germany. Mom is scheduled for surgery the end of August.

Family Bios: August 12, 2017

The first family we will visit is originally from Somalia, although none of the children have ever seen their country. The mother left Somalia when she was 17 and lived for 20 years in a refugee camp in Kenya. She met and married her husband there, had all her children, and lost her husband before the family was granted asylum here in the USA.  This family of 9 (mother and children ranging from ages 7 to 23) arrived in Phoenix with a brother-in-law in October 2015. The older daughter,  married with a baby (the first American in their family), has since moved out with her husband. The mother moved to Seattle with the other 8 children a little while ago. Seattle proved to be too expensive and it was hard for the mother to find a job, so they have come back to Phoenix.  They are starting over again in a small 2-bedroom apartment, but they are optimistic and hopeful. The mother says Phoenix is good – good food, good health care, good schools. She is looking for a job and the younger children will soon start back to school. This happy family is grateful for the help of WTAP, grateful for the newest addition to their family, and excited about the future.

 

We’ll also meet a family of four from Cuba, who are very recent arrivals to the United States.  They include two adults and a pair of teenage boys.

 

 

 

And we’ll visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The father is one of 12 children, 11 of whom survived.  In 1996, during the war, they fled to the Refugee camp in Tanzania, where the family stayed 22 years.  The father and his family attended school through high school.  The grandparents died in camp, one from malaria and one from heart problems.  The father and mother met in camp and had all three children there. The family includes two boys ages,  11 and 8, and a daughter age 4.  The three children will be in school this coming year. The father has five brothers living in New York.

Family Bios: Agust 5 and August 7, 2017

On Saturday, we’ll visit a family from Afghanistan. The family had to flee their home after being threatened because of the father’s association with US Armed Forces. He worked in construction for 7 years helping our soldiers on the ground in his home country.  The father and mother were married in Afghanistan and have three children (ages 5, 4 and 1). Most of their family is still back in Afghanistan, but the father does have a cousin in Glendale and a sister in California.  The family came directly to the USA from Afghanistan and has only been here a month, but they are enjoying their time. The father already has a job. The mother has been working on her English. The older daughter will be starting kindergarten soon. They are very happy to be here and to be safe, and expressed great appreciation for the welcome and the help from the Welcome to America Project.

 

We will visit another family from Afghanistan. This young woman (23) is the responsible adult for her 2 siblings (ages 13 and 12).  The family is originally from Afghanistan, but fled with their parents to Pakistan. They lived there for several years before being granted asylum. The children were granted asylum, but their parents did not come. They do not know where their parents are now.  The older sister is working on her English skills and hopes to get a job soon. The younger siblings will be starting school next month. They were particularly keen on getting a desk to do their homework.  The family is doing well, especially considering their unique situation. A mentor is helping them getting adjusted to their new life and they have some friends here in the Valley.

 

We’ll visit a third family from Afghanistan. They arrived here on a Special Immigration Visa.   The husband assisted the US government in Afghanistan and his family was threatened because of this work. His unit officers were originally from Arizona and that is why this family has been resettled here.  In Afghanistan, the husband worked in information technologies, assisting US Agencies in distribution of foreign aid.  The wife is a nurse. She worked visiting rural areas in Afghanistan to provide health care and medical training. The couple got their college educations in Pakistan, where they learned English. They met upon their return to Afghanistan, where they got married and had two children, now ages 3 and 5. They are expecting a baby in August.  This family arrived in Phoenix in April. The children did not start school, but are looking forward to going in August. The father is looking for a job and the mother is getting ready to add the newest member of their family. They said they are happy to be here together, even though all their family remains in Afghanistan.

 

 

On Monday, we will meet a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The father and his parents were farmers.  His parents were killed while he was working on the farm.  He left after this happened in 1994 and headed to the Refugee Camp in Tanzania.  He met his wife in the camp and they had their three children there.  They have two boys ages 10 and two and a daughter that is eight.  They left the camp and arrived in Arizona in April of 2016. The father has one sister that remained in Tanzania. The father is presently working and the two older children are attending school and enjoy it.  The children speak some English.

 

 

 

The last family we’ll meet, also from Democratic Republic of Congo, is a family of seven.  The children are three boys ages 15, 14 and two and two girls ages 11 and eight.  The father left the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997 for Uganda and stayed in a refugee camp for 19 years.  He met his wife there and all the children were born there.  They arrived in Arizona October of 2016.  The school aged kids are in school and speak English.  Mom is expecting another child in August. The father has a brother is Kansas and one in refugee camp.

Family Bios: July 29 and 30, 2017

We will visit Kurdish family from Iraq. The mom and the dad have a 3 year old and a baby due in November. The family arrived in April.  In Iraq, the father was an electrician while the mom stayed home with the children. This family began receiving threats back in 2012 after some of the extended family members assisted the US Armed Forces.  After moving around their country for years in search of safety, there were resettled here in Phoenix.  The family is happy to be joining many, many other family members already here in the USA. The father’s brother, sister and father live in the same apartment complex, and they have family in Washington, California, Texas and Missouri. Some of their family has been here since 1996.

 

The next family we will visit is related to the first. The father and his adult daughter live in the same apartment complex as 2 other family members, both of which also have been served by The Welcome to America Project.  While the father is happy to be here and safe with his children and grandchildren, he spoke of missing his own brother and sister who are still in Iraq. As a Kurd, he said he felt like a stranger when he first arrived, but is feeling more at home now. He expressed deep gratitude to all the people who have helped him get settled in this new place.

 

We’ll also visit a young man from the Democratic Republic of Congo and his mother. The young man fled the DRC in 2013 with his mom. They were following his sister, but the family was separated and only reconnected when the young man was in the refugee camp in South Congo and found out his sister had been resettled in Phoenix. She later moved to Chicago.  The young man and his mother were eventually resettled in Chicago, but decided to come to Phoenix where jobs are more plentiful and the rents are more affordable. The young man arrived here in February. He waited until he had a job to send for his mom, who arrived in July.  The young man is employed at Papa Johns and he really likes his job.  He was able to teach himself English while in the refugee camp, and is excited to start his new life here working and taking care of his mother.

 

We will visit a family from Cuba.  The father (63), daughter (41) and grandson (21) live together. The father arrived to he US earlier and had lived in Montana until a few months ago when his daughter and grandson arrived.  In Cuba, the father worked high in the mountains doing woodworking and carpentry. His grandson was a carpenter too. Now they are both working in demolition. The daughter did a variety of jobs in Cuba. She just landed a job and is lucky to be able to carpool with a friend in her complex.  Even tough they have relatives scattered all over the USA and many still back in Cuba, this family is happy to be together in Phoenix, to be working and to feel settled.

 

We’ll visit a second family from Cuba.  The mother (60) lives with her daughter (28) and granddaughter (10). They have been in Phoenix for 7 months.  In Cuba, the mother was a lab technician in a hospital and her daughter was a shopkeeper. The mother recalled Cuba as a very beautiful place but a place where life is very hard. The family is happy to be here and is starting to feel settled after the difficulties of relocation.  The mother had nothing but the nicest things to say about the American welcome she has received. She mentioned being so impressed by the concern and goodness of the American people. She is very grateful to The Welcome to America Project.

 

We will visit a third family from Cuba, consisting of a wife, husband and their young son.