We will visit a family from Eritrea. A mother and young daughter escaped the war in their country in 2000. Her son followed them to a refugee camp in Ethiopia in 2011. All 3 family members arrived here in Phoenix, although separately, in the last couple of months. In Eritrea, the young man was a shepherd. He hopes to learn English and look for work here soon. He is also hoping to bring his wife and small child here to the USA. They stayed behind in Ethiopia to care of the wife’s ailing mother. So, while he is happy to be here, and very grateful for the support of the Welcome to America Project, he is missing his family.
We will visit a family from Somalia who arrived to the United States in October of 2017. They are originally from Somalia. They fled Somalia many years ago and were in Kenya in a refugee camp for 24 years. All of the children were born. The couple have two boys, ages 9 and 7 and three girls, ages 12, 4 and 1. The father worked as a waiter in a hotel in Kenya and hoping to have a similar to provide for his family. He’s a very hard worker and dreaming for a good future in the United States.
And we will visit a family from Afghanistan, the husband having worked for US military in Afghanistan doing steel rebar work. They came to the States two months ago on a special immigration visa (SIV). His sister and her husband moved to Arizona 4 years ago and she’s been helpful with their adjustment. The husband hopes for a computer so he can perfect his English and hopes to find a job in construction to show his skills. The couple have two sons, ages 12 and 3 and two daughters, ages 9 and 5, all of whom are enjoying school.
We will visit a family from Syria.. The mother and father were both farmers. They grew all kinds of fruits and vegetables; “Everything!” the dad said, when asked what they grew. They fled with 5 children in 2012 to escape the war, while their oldest son stayed in Syria. The family lived in Jordan for 3 years, during which time they had another daughter.The family arrived in Phoenix in October 2015. Their adult son in Syria got married and now has children. They worry about him and the safety of his family. The father is working and taking English classes and the 4 older children are all doing well in school. The youngest will be starting a preschool for children with special needs soon. The family is happy to be here and safe, but they worry a lot about their oldest children, so it is hard for them to feel settled here.
We’ll visit a family from the Congo region of Africa The mother and father fled their home in 1996 with their daughter and their niece, whom they adopted. They lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania for 20 years before coming to the USA. They had 7 more children while living in exile.The father is a college graduate. He was a high school French teacher. The mother is a seamstress, and honed her skills here at the Lutheran Social Services Women’s Empowerment program. They are here with their 9 children (ages 23 to 5) and a grandson (14 months old). They all speak English. The father is working, but is hoping to find a teaching job. The mother is doing childcare. The younger children are all in school and doing very well.
And we will visit a family from South Sudan. The mother and children and the mother’s younger brother fled to Ethiopia in 2014 after her husband was captured during the war. They family lived in a refugee camp, unable to go to school or work, for 3 years. Five days before they left for resettlement in the USA, the father found them in the camp. The father is still in the camp in Ethiopia and they are trying to get reunification so he can join them here. The six children are all doing well in school, and the mother’s brother has a good paying job. The mother is also looking for work after a recent emergency surgery. This family has a relative here in Phoenix who resettled 14 years ago. He is able to help with some transportation needs and serves as a good resource for them. The mother was especially grateful for our visit. She said, “America is the best place in the world because there is freedom for every one and there is no war.”
We will visit a family from Afghanistan, who arrived on a Special Immigration Visa in November, directly from Afghanistan. The husband worked for the US Armed Forces back in Afghanistan and speaks English. The wife is a seamstress. She is taking classes to improve her skills and is hoping for a sewing machine to sew things to help her family’s income. Her priority now is to learn English and she goes to classes 4 days a week.This family has two young boys, ages 4 and 3. They are very grateful to the US for giving them refuge so that their boys can be safe. They have a friend here in Phoenix, but not close to where they live. They are hoping to reunite as soon as they are settled. Most of their family is still back in Afghanistan and they worry about their safety.
We will visit a second family from Afghanistan. The husband worked for the US Armed Forces for 11 years. He started as a dishwasher when he was only 13 and worked his way up to translator and heavy machine operator. The couple tells a lovely story of how they met. The husband was in a car accident. His friend and friend’s mother came to visit to check on him. His friend’s mother sought out this refugee’s mother and said she knew just the girl for him. He met her and realized right away she was the perfect woman for him. They married in 2013 and have two young children (ages 2 and 1). A fortunate car accident, it seems. The family arrived in Phoenix at the end of October. The father had a job interview a few days after the WTAP visit, for which he was hopeful. The wife is working on her English and her sewing skills and is anxious to have books and toys to play with her children. They are very happy to be safe here with their children.
And we will visit is a woman from Iraq. She arrived here in October with her friend and the friend’s 3 children. They all live together and have no other family or family in the USA.
The woman was so grateful for the WTAP visit. She said the volunteers were like the family she does not have here. When asked about how she liked America so far, she smiled. Through the translator, she said America is wonderful because there is peace and respect for all people and that these are things that are really important in life.
We will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They arrived in Phoenix from refugee camp in Tanzania in mid September. The husband, age 24, lived in this camp since 1996. He met and married his wife there as she was also a refugee. Their son, age 2 ,was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania. The couple fled as children to Tanzania because of the war raging in their country. The family were farmers, cultivating fields before moving to the United States. Their families remain in Tanzania but the husband does have some relatives in Phoenix. Their immediate goal is to learn English and to find a job, “any job” he says, so that he can support his family. He remarked that he was very grateful that the WTAP had come to visit him and to help his family with furnishing their home.
We will also visit a family from Afghanistan who consists of a husband, age 33, his wife, age 32, a son, age 4, and a daughter, age 2. They arrived in Phoenix in July and they were given political refugee status because the husband had worked for the US military. Because of his work, the family’s life was in danger as the Taliban threatened them frequently. The threats were all too real – – a bomb was planted behind their home. The wife said that she was afraid even to take her children outside of the home. She mentioned that the children were traumatized by their experiences in Afghanistan and are still afraid when they see a police car now. Education is very important to this family. The husband has a university degree with a major in English and the wife graduated from high school. Her dream is to become a dentist, and her husband would like to become a college professor. The husband was not at home for the interview as he has been working for the past month in a furniture store. They are both happy that they are now living in a safe environment for their children where they hope the family members will have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
This family is from Cuba and came to Phoenix in April. They lived with husband’s brother until they moved into their own residence two months ago. The family includes a husband, age 45, a wife, age 37, a daughter, age 9, and a son, age 2 They left Cuba because. they wanted to provide a better future for their children. In Cuba, the husband was a farmer, and his wife worked in a cultural center. The husband is currently employed in landscaping, and his wife worked recently as a cook. The daughter enjoys school, and her dream is to become a lawyer or a doctor. The mother’s goals for her family are to find good employment for her husband and herself and to provide opportunities for her children so that they can progress in their lives.