Blog

Family Bios: April 20, 2019

We will greet an Afghani father and son, now in his 20s. When they fled the Afghan Talib regime they spent six years in Indonesia before being resettled in Arizona this January. In Indonesia, the father worked at several jobs, including driving and baking. Here, both have already found jobs, and the son is part of a work/study program that will let him resume his education. The father told us that he could only take his eldest son out of Afghanistan, so this son has had to grow up without a mother. The rest of the family remains there: his wife, two daughters, and two sons. Although the process has begun to bring the rest of the family here, it could be several more years before they will be able to join their father and brother in the US.

We will also greet an 18 year old  Rohingya man who is settling into his very first apartment home.  We will learn more about him and his  journey when we visit.

Family Bios: April 13, 2019

We will visit a family from Sudan. The mother of this family has a terribly harrowing tale of her journey to the USA. Please be aware that it is hard to hear, but she wanted us to know what she endured to find peace.

When she was 5 years old, our client lived in a tiny village in Sudan. One day, her village was set on fire. Everyone had to flee. Our client was asleep at the time, and her mother was unable to gather all her children; she left our client behind.  Our client survived when she was found by another family and fled with them. They all ran to Libya where this new family eventually adopted our client. She grew up there with them.

Libya is not a safe place for refugees; there was a tremendous amount of violence. When she was 24 years old, our client witnessed the murder of her adoptive parents, and she was assaulted. The pain of this is still with her today.

She was found by The Red Cross and transferred to a refugee camp. Her story circulated the camp and a man in camp came to meet her and asked her to marry him. They married and applied for asylum. While waiting for asylum, they had a set of twin boys and another little boy a year later.

Our client spoke of being so afraid for her children that, for 2 years, they never left their house. Her children never slept on beds. They had no toys. She cried as she recounted life in camp waiting for asylum.

Almost exactly 4 years ago, our client and her family arrived in Phoenix. Her husband is working and their older 3 children are in school; another little boy was born shortly after they arrived in the USA.

Our client was able to find her birth family; they are still in Sudan She is hoping to help them get to Egypt so she can visit them; she has already secured a passport for herself for this visit. When we asked if she liked being in Phoenix, our client responded, “ I am so grateful. I never thought we would have all this. I never thought we would be safe.”

 

We will also visit a family from Aleppo, Syria. The mother and father fled the civil war in 2013 with their 4 boys (now ages 15-11). They were in Turkey for 3 years before being granted asylum here. In that time, a 5th boy was born (now 3).

The family is getting used to life in the USA, despite not liking it at first. The older boys are doing well in school and the youngest will begin Headstart in the Fall. Everyone speaks English. The mother has made friends and started her own little business as a part of the Syrian Sweets program. The father works at the airport.

The families of both the mother and father remain in Turkey and they miss them. The mother said they speak to them every day. The mother was excited to share with us pictures of her family and one of her English teacher here in Phoenix. She expressed her sincere gratitude to WTAP for coming to visit and supporting their family.

Family Bios: March 30, 2019

We will meet a family of 6 who are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  They spent time in the Muyinga Refugee Camp in Burundi before arriving in Arizona, but before that they were in Rwanda for a while. (They cannot remember exactly how long in either location.)  They have only been in the US for six weeks. Two of the children were born in the DRC and two were born in Burundi.  The ages of the children are 18, 15, 10 and 2—three boys and one girl.  The older kids are in school and are learning English.  The father is quite educated—he worked in a hotel in Burundi and while in Rwanda he started a master’s degree. He also speaks English.  They are very happy to be in the US.  The kids seem happy and adjusting to their new life.

We will also visit a family of 7 originally from the DRC who lived in a refugee camp in Burundi for years.  The mother is 32 and spent the majority of her life in the camp.  She got married in the camp and had all of her children there.  They have only been in the US for 1 month. The older kids are in school, and The mother, said that she and her husband are thrilled when the kids come home with new English words.  She is happy to be in the US.

And we will meet a single mom with two sons, ages 5 and 13 Her parents were forced to leave their home in DRC due to wars in 1999. She was 13 years old and her brother only 11. They lived in a refugee camp on the border of the DRC until 2006.  From 2007 to 2019 they lived in a refugee camp in Burundi. They received clearance to come to the USA in late 2018 and arrived in late January 2019. The oldest son already has some English skills and is enjoying school. She lives with her brother, age 31, who quickly secure a job.