This Week’s Families

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.


Family Bios: March 23, 2019 (morning)

This weekend we will welcome a Syrian family who arrived in Arizona in September 2016 after fleeing Damascus when the war started several years ago. They moved from the capital and stayed in various Syrian towns for 8 months before fleeing to Lebanon where they lived four years in a camp before coming to the United States. The wife says that it was “very hard” living in the camp, and the family “suffered” under these circumstances. The husband is 40 years old and is currently working at the car rental facilities at the airport. His wife, who is 37 years old, had just given birth to a son 10 days prior to the home visit. The family has seven girls, ages 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 15 and 16 years old. All are in school except the youngest, and they are doing well.  The family is “very happy” to be here, and the children are excited to have the opportunity to attend school. One wants to be a doctor while another hopes to become a teacher. Both parents are trying to improve their English skills, and their children are helping them learn the language.

We will also welcome a family from Iraq who arrived in Arizona in November 2017, fleeing the persecution that they experienced because husband had worked for three years as a translator for the American military. During that time period, his father had borrowed his car and was killed by a car bomb which was intended for him. After he left the US military employment, he joined the Iraqi army. He has a degree in English from an Iraqi university and is currently working in the security field at the airport. The wife, age 32, is a housewife and is working on improving her English which is very limited. The parents have three sons, ages 12, 10, and 9 and a daughter, age 1. The family is doing very well and the children are enjoying their school experience here. The father would like to pursue a degree in Homeland Security but he also discusses the opportunity to work as a translator in the government. The parents’ goals for their children are to be educated and to provide them with good opportunities for their future so they will have a “good life.”

Family Bios: March 16, 2019

We will visit two young people moving into their first apartments. Both arrived to the US after escaping dire circumstances in their home countries, forcing them to flee as teenagers.  They were raised in foster families and are now ready to live on their own.

One is a 19 year old young woman from Eritrea, who arrived to the US a few years ago.  The other is a 18 young man from Guatemala who will be living with roommate. We will learn more about their stories when we welcome them on Saturday. 

Family Bios: March 2, 2019

We will visit a family of five from Democratic Republic of Congo.   The single mother fled her home at age 11 and spent 21 years in refugee camp.  Her four children were born a refugee camp. She’s lucky to now be living in Phoenix near her sister who has been here for almost 5 years. Their mother also lives here.  The mom has already secured work in the food industry. She’s very happy to be safe and in Phoenix where her children can attend school. Her children are 11, 9 and 3 (twins). 

We also visit a family from Eritrea who arrived in the US in October 2018.  The family includes a husband, wife and their children ages 8, 10 & 14. The entire family is fast learning English. After leaving Eritrea they were in a refugee camp in northern Ethiopia, where they stayed for about 3 years.  The husband is looking for work, and the wife would like to also find work.  She was very appreciative of WTAP and extremely happy about being in the US.

And we will meet a single dad from Burundi, raising two boys, ages 5 and 7.  The dad fled Burundi in 1996 due to ethnic persecution. He went to Kenya and was there for 22 years until arriving in the US in November 2018.   He met the mother of his children in 2009 in Kenya. She was also a refugee from Burundi.  The mother left the kids and father in 2014 to move back to Burundi.  The father used to be a medical assistant in Kenya.  He would like to get a job in the medical field here in the US.  He spoke English and French, and seemed very happy to be in the US.

Family Bios: February 23, 2019

We will visit a Christian family from Burma (Myanmar).  Christians make up just over 8% of the population in Burma. They experience discrimination and sometimes even persecution as a minority population.   The father and mother fled Burma with one small child (now 10 years old). While they waited for asylum in Malaysia, another child (now 5 years old) was added to the family. They have now been in the USA for almost 2 years and are now a family of 5; the youngest is a US citizen, born just after their arrival here.  Mom and dad are both working part-time and taking care of the children. The two older children are in school and doing well. While they have no other family here in the USA, mom indicated, with a smile, that she has made a friend here in Arizona,


The second family we will visit if from Afghanistan. The entire family – mom and the 7 children (aged 19 to 3)- fled the violence in their country. They waited for asylum for about two years in Pakistan. They have been in Phoenix just over two years.  The oldest child, a son, goes to school 4 days a week and works three days a week to support the family. Five daughters are in school as well; the youngest is still too young and stays home with mom.  The family has relatives in Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan, but no one here in the USA. Thankfully, the children have made friends at school. Mom was very thankful to WTAP for helping in this time of need.

Family Bios: February 16, 2019

We will visit a couple who is originally from Somalia. They arrived in Arizona in October 2018.  The 31 year old  husband had left his country in 2000 because of the fighting and settled in Yemen until 2013.  He was primarily a student while he lived there but fled Yemen because of the political turmoil in the country.  He finally arrived in a refugee camp on Nauru, an Australian island, three months after he left Yemen. He traveled through both Indonesia and Christmas Island before he reached his destination.  His wife is 37 and  pregnant with their first child.  She fled Somalia in 2013 because of the war in the country and met her husband while they were both on the journey to Nauru.  She had previously worked as a cook in Somalia but neither she or her husband  was able to work in the camp.  They described the camp conditions as deplorable, and there was widespread violence against the refugees by the natives there.  The couple married in Nauru in 2017. They are both very happy to finally reach the safety of the United States and to be able to take advantage of the many opportunities to improve their lives and that of their future children.  The husband is actively looking for employment.  The couple is focusing now on improving their English skills, and the husband’s future goal is to finish high school and then pursue further education.

We will also meet a family of four from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They fled SRC for their safety to Tanzania where they lived in refugee camp for 15 years.  The father was able to find work fixing machinery while in refugee camp. He met and married his wife and they had two children in the camp.  The father worked at at plant nursery and is currently employed in retail. Their oldest child will soon be in school. And they have another child due soon. We look forward to meeting them this Saturday.