We’ll visit a young woman from Democratic of Republic of Congo, who lived in foster care shortly after arrival. She arrived about two years ago, having lived in refugee camps most of her life. We’ll help her to settle into her first-ever apartment.
We will also meet two families from Syria. One family had to flee suddenly during civil war and traveled on foot to Jordan. They remained in refugee camps for two years. The couple has six kids ranging in age from 5 months to 20 years old. All are very happy to be in the US.
The second Syrian family is a family of four. They fled Syria for Lebanon in 2012 and eventually found safety in a refugee camp in Jordan. They are very happy to be in the US where the kids (ages 11 and 16) can learn in school and parents can work.
We’ll greet a family of three from Syria, who have been in the US for a little over a month. Dad requires a wheel chair. Mom likes baking and taking care of her family. Their 5-year old daughter enjoyed our visit. She loves meeting new people and is excited to make new friends at school. She spoke often of how much she misses her grandparents, who are not in the US.
We will also be visiting a family from Burma (Myanmar). The husband is 23 years-old and was born in a Bangladesh refugee camp and moved to Malaysia at age 19 to another refugee camp. From Malaysia, he was processed to come to San Antonio, Texas in September 2018, where he lived until last month. He has not known life outside of a refugee camp until coming to the US last year. He met his wife in Texas and they moved to Phoenix, where they were married. His family left Burma long before he was born to move to the refugee camp in Bangladesh to escape the violence of the military/government toward the Rohingya people. Both husband and wife are working in house cleaning and their son attends school and has learned English very well. Both husband and wife are attending English classes, and are able to speak some English.
Then we will be visiting a family of five originally from Burma, but who fled to Malaysia. Mom speaks English very well, which she learned when she was enrolled in school. She also discovered an interest in computer sciences while in school. Her husband recently started working in the food industry. They are excited to be in the US and for their children to have access to greater opportunities. We were lucky to see them at a recent WAVE (Clothing Closet) and they have quickly bonded with WTAP and our volunteers.
And we will also visit a family of six from Burma. The family are Karen, the majority of whom have settled on the Thailand–Myanmar border. Essentially, the Karen are people without a country who can live their entire lives in refugee camp. The parents, grandfather and three children live together and have been in the US for two months. The brothers are ages 9, 15 and 18, and are all attending school, and enjoy playing sports in their free time. The father is recently employed, and the mother enjoys cooking their native dishes.
We will visit 3 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo this weekend. Violence in the DRC goes back to the genocide in Rwanda, a neighboring country, beginning in 1994. Millions of people are estimated to have been killed in the violence, that continues in some forms to this day. According to data for the UN, more than 2.1 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2017 alone — equivalent to an average of 50 families fleeing every hour, every day.
One family fled the DRC when the mom was about 10 years old. Her family lived in a camp in Tanzania for 19 years. During that time, she lost 2 brothers and her mother. The mother, her father, her 2 brothers and her 5 children arrived in Phoenix in October 2016. Sadly, just one year later, the mother’s father passed away. All the adults have been able to find work and the children are all doing well in school. The older girls speak very good English and the youngest boy will be starting kindergarten next year.
Another family we will visit also fled the DRC but sought safety in Rwanda. The mother fled the DRC when she was about 7, leaving with her sister, who was 30, and her sister’s husband. They lived in camp in Rwanda for 20 years. The mother arrived in Phoenix with her 4 boys in March 2019. The older children have all started school and are already learning English. The youngest stays at home with his mother. Our client’s sister, with whom she originally fled the DRC, has been resettled in Norway. Although she is very far away, our client is able to talk to her sister by phone.
A third family we will visit is also from DRC and also fled to Tanzania. The mother fled DRC with her children in 1998. Her children grew and had families of their own before they were granted asylum. The mother, her daughter and her 2 grandchildren arrived in Phoenix in February 2019. One of her sons has also been resettled in Phoenix, while her other children remain in Tanzania. They were exceptionally grateful for the visit and for the offer of support from WTAP.
We will visit a family originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In 2009 they fled their home and ended up in a refugee camp in Kenya where they stayed for nine years. The children attended school in camp and learned English. In 2015 they received a letter from U.S. Embassy and process started for them to come to the United States. This process took 3 years and family arrived to AZ in December 2018. The father is 53 years old and mother is 46. They have four sons ages 13. 14, 16 and 25 and four daughters ages 18, 20, 21 and 22. The parents and older children are training for work and hope to be employed soon. One of the daughters hopes to go to school to become an engineer.
We will also visit a family from Burma. They fled Burma to Malaysia years ago and arrived to AZ in February 2019. They do not speak English and are feeling isolated in apartment. They don’t know much about area, don’t know how to get around or how to ask for help. The father is 33 years old and the mother is 26. They have two children: a daughter who is five and a son who is one. Their goals for life are to work hard and save money to buy a house and car.
And we will visit another DRC family. War broke out in their country, the father was killed, the mother and children escaped to Rwanda. They arrived here February 2019. The mother is 51 years old. She has a daughter age 13 and three son’s ages 16, 20 and 22. She is happy to be here, feels safe and now has no problems in life, she says. The two younger children are in school and the older ones are waiting to start work.