We will visit a young man from the Roshni province of Afghanistan who arrived in the US 9/11/18. He is just 18 years old and fled his country at the encouragement of his parents due to death threats on him from the Taliban. He is unsure why he was targeted. His parents wanted him kept safe so they gave him some money they had saved up and he fled to India first and then onto Sri Lanka where he asked for asylum. He traveled to the US once all documents were in order. He wants to be able to help his parents with money and so he is very interested in getting a job first and then pursuing an education after he is more financially stable. Our client has no siblings and is hoping his parents can join him in the US at some point. He is looking forward to learning English and making new friends in America.
We will also visit a husband, wife and the niece and nephew of the couple. They fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 due to increasing danger to their village from decades of war. They had many family members killed and they fled for their lives to Malawi where they stayed at a refugee camp. They married 1 year ago in the camp. Prior to leaving their village the husband’s job was running a market where he sold beer and wine. His wife was a student. When they fled their village the niece and nephew were just 7 and 11 respectively. They learned they have some family in north Phoenix but have not had a chance to meet their yet. They are trying to get jobs and learning English.
And we will also visit a young man who arrived from Mexico on his own as a minor and after foster care, is about to move into his very first apartment. We will learn more about him when we visit.
We will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mom and dad were farmers, who were forced to flee the conflict in their country with their infant daughter. They spent over 18 years in Uganda waiting for asylum. In that time, their family grew to include 7 more children. Some were able to attend school in camp, and many speak some English. This family now also includes a baby who was born just after their arrival in Phoenix and a grandmother who lives with them too. They are all in a 2-bedroom apartment. They are hoping to secure a bigger space soon. The children are all very eager to start school, and specifically asked for backpacks and school supplies. The while family is anxious to start a new life and hope one day to be able to visit their oldest sibling, the only child born in the Congo, who was resettled in Kentucky.
We will also visit a family from Myanmar, formerly Burma. This family is Rohingya, part of a Muslim minority group in Myanmar that has suffered tremendous persecution. Father, mother and a brother fled Myanmar in 2005. They spent 10 years awaiting asylum in Malaysia before being resettled here in Phoenix in December 2015. Both of this family’s children, 2 boys, were born in Malaysia. In Myanmar, the father and brother were house painters. For the years they were in Malaysia, they did construction work. Now in Phoenix, they also work together. They joked that they will work together all their lives. Mom has settled into life in Phoenix and has made friends with Rohingya neighbors in her complex. The older boy is doing well in school and his little brother has a friend his age who lives right next door.The family is happy to be here, together, working and getting an education, things that were not safely possible for them back in Myanmar.
Finally, we will visit another Rohingya family from Myanmar. Mom and dad have 2 girls, ages 12 and 11, and a baby boy, who is just 9 months old. Dad is working and the girls are doing very well in school. Their teacher said their English is already great. Volunteers who visit will get to hear the story of this family’s journey to America from the girls and Dad, who speak English but were not home the day of our home visit.
We will be visiting a family of 6 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The husband, wife, and their 4 children arrived to Phoenix on July 24th, 2018. There is one 4 year old girl and 3 boys ages 12, 10, and 7. The 3 sons started school in September, while the little girl stays at home with her parents. The husband fled the DRC to Tanzania with his family when he was 10 years old due to war, and lived in a camp for 10 years. His father passed away when fleeing, and his mother is still living in the refugee camp. He met his wife in the camp where they had all of their 4 children. The wife’s father still lives in the DRC, and her mom is still living in the refugee camp. They both miss their parents very much, and wish they could be in the U.S. with them.
We will also meet another family of 6 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The family arrived in Arizona on August 21st 2018. The mother and grandmother live together with four kids: two daughters aged 14 and 4, as well as two sons aged 12 and 1 years old. The mother left the Congo in 1997 with her parents and her four siblings to a refugee camp in Tanzania. The mother’s father died in the refugee camp and her sisters and brothers are still currently living at the refugee camp. Two of the children started school in September and they are very happy in school and doing well. The mother hopes to get a job to help support her family.
And we will meet two male roommates from Afghanistan, ages 29 and 22. They arrived separately to the US in August 2018, likely fleeing the Taliban because of roles they played in supporting our military. We will learn more about these two young men when we visit.
We will visit 3 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
One family is a family of 7: mom, dad and 5 children. Both the mom and dad are orphans. The father said that his life in Congo, especially as an orphan, was hard and sad. He fled to Tanzania in 1999. His wife fled the same year. Years later, met in the camp and were married. All five of their children were born in Tanzania.The children who were old enough, were able to attend school in camp. Since arriving here in April, the older children have been thriving in school. Dad even bragged that a couple of the older ones are doing so well with their English that they served as translators last time the family had to go to a doctor’s appointment. Mom and dad have both secured jobs: dad works the third shift, in the night, and mom heads to work when dad gets home in the early morning hours. It is hard, but this way there is always someone with the children. The family is happy to be here together, safe in their new home.
We’ll visit a family who also fled to Tanzania from the DRC. Mom left in 1996, when she was just a young girl. She met her husband and got married in camp, but she is in the US alone with her 5 children. The family arrived in June and so the children have recently started school. Mom has secured a job and has a neighbor girl, who speaks both Swahili and English, babysit when she is at work. Mom says they are all happy. She is thankful that WTAP will be able to bring some colorful artwork for her walls and items to help her keep her house clean.
A third family also followed the route to safety through Tanzania. Mom and Dad fled DRC with 2 small children and a baby on the way. During the 22 years the family spent in a refugee camp, 5 more children were born and the oldest daughter has 2 children of her own. Now 11 live together in a home in Phoenix. (Fun side note: The home this family rents is owned by a landlord who buys houses, remodels them and then rents specifically to refugees. Good people doing good work!) Most of the family arrived in May. The older son was on a separate case from the rest of the family and only arrived in August. There is still one sister who remains in camp. The family is hoping she is able to come soon and complete their family of 12. The children are all doing well in school and improving their English. One of the older daughters has secured work. The family asked to thank the WTAP volunteers for your good work.