This Week’s Families

Family Bios: June 24, 2017


This family came to the US from came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, having arrived in Aug of 2014.  The family includes a women and her 3 daughters and 1 son, ages 4 to 16 years old  with newborn on the way.   The mother and her oldest daughter left the Congo in 2008 and fled to a refugee camp in Uganda where she and her daughter lived until coming to America.  The other children were born in the camp. The family had been doing well with kids in school, learning English and the mother and working to support her family when their home burned and they lost all their belongings.  They are working hard to recover from this setback event.  The mother is not able to work at this time due to her pregnancy but is taking the time to take more English classes so that when the baby is born, she will be able to return to the work force. 


This family is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and arrived in the US in July 2016.  The family includes  a husband, is wife and their 4 daughters ranging in age from 1 to7 years old.  They are expecting another child in October.  Their journey to America began with being affected by the war in the Congo and needing to flee their village for safety in 1996.  The husband and wife were very young at the time, around 10-12 years of age when they fled with their families.  They met in the refugee camp in Tanzania and all their children were born in the camp.  The father is working as a cleaner for a large company while the mother stays home and takes care of the family.  They are happy to be in the US and feel very safe and blessed to have this opportunity.


This family is from Syria and arrived in the United States in July 2016.  They are a husband a wife and  a 6 sons ranging in age from 6 to 14 years of age.  They fled Syria in 2010 by car to a refugee camp in Jordan due to the war being all around them and fearing for their lives and safety.  The husband worked in construction in Syria while the wife stayed at home with the children.  The husband has been able to find work here at a car wash and is very grateful for this job.  The mother works as a housecleaner now.  The children are very happy in school and have made lots of friends along with learning to speak English.  They are very glad they can feel safe again.

Family Bios: June 17, 2017

We’ll visit a family from Cuba, a couple with two children  (23-year-old daughter who is still in Cuba attending her last year of medical school, and a 15-year-old son who just arrived from Cuba in the past week after being separated from his parents since 2013).  The husband was trained in epidemiology in Cuba, and worked in this field traveling to Africa and South America.  The wife worked with plants in a nursery.  They left Cuba because they just couldn’t progress living in a Communist-controlled country.  They fled to Brazil in 2013 where they worked for 3 years, then came to the US via Houston where they lived for 4 months, then came to Phoenix in 2016.  The husband was hired full-time to work in a factory and their son has begun school.


We will meet two 30 year old Cuban men, both dentists, now living as roommates.    One man was working in Valenzuela and then went to Columbia.  He flew from Columbia to the United States (Miami) then came to AZ. His wife and daughter are still in Cuba with hopes of coming to the US. He is currently working in a bakery.  The other man was working in Columbia and also flew to Miami and then came to AZ. His wife and son are still in Cuba and hope to come here when they can. He is working for a construction company as a painter. Both men would like to return to the medical field once their families are settled in our country.  When not working, they enjoy baseball and soccer. 


We’ll visit a family from Afghanistan that includes a husband, his expectant wife and their young son.  Both parents are highly educated and speak fluent English.  The husband worked in administration with the US government and, as a result, was targeted by insurgents.  He and his family fled their home and were eventually taken in by our government to come to our country.  The husband is already working now for a US company.  They still have relatives in Afghanistan about whom they worry for safety. 


We’ll visit two young men from Eritrea who arrived here as “unaccompanied minors”.  Now 19, they will have their very first apartments.  They both work and attend school.   

Family Bios: June 10, 2017


This family consists of a husband, age 32, his 24 year old wife, their three year old son and their new addition, a young son born in May of this year.  The family arrived here from Afghanistan in March 2017.    The husband worked in administration for three years in the US embassy.  The family had to move several times because of threats issues until they decided it was best to seek safety in the US. The husband has a  degree in Economics from an Indian University, and his wife also attended school.  The husband is one of 10 children, and he has 9 siblings who, for reasons of displacement, are scattered throughout the world.  His father is deceased and his mother, age 85, lives with his brother who is a shopkeeper Kabul.  They have some family in the Phoenix area who left Afghanistan under similar circumstances.    Now safe, the couple’s focus is on education for themselves and their children. The husband would like to pursue a MBA degree. His wife wants to finish a college education when her children are older.  The wife’s current goal is improving her  English, and the husband’s focus is on finding employment so he can support his family.   


We’ll visit a second family from Afghanistan, a young couple who arrived here in mid February of this year.  They are happy to have found safety in the US.




We will also visit two young Cuban women who recently arrived in April of this year.  One woman came by way of Columbia and the other through Brazil.   Both are experienced medical doctors who are eager to get started studying for their US medical board certifications.   Medical professionals in Cuba are often sent to other countries in exchange for resources (minerals, oil, etc.).  They have very little choice in this matter and can be separated from their families.  The two doctors are happy and relieved to be here.  And they appreciate opportunities and freedoms  our country offers. 

Family Bios: June 4, 2017




On Sunday, we will visit three large families from the African continent, all of whom fled the dangers of war and oppression in their countries. Two families are from the Congo region and the third family is from Eritrea.  They arrived in the US late last year.  Things we take for granted – food, employment, safety,  peace – were non existent in their countries and every day was dangerous.  Each family has spent many years in refugee camp and many of their children were born in camp.  Now in Phoenix, the families have found peace and opportunities to work and learn.  The parents are working and children are enrolled in Phoenix area schools, a far cry from their refugee existence.

Family Bios: June 3, 2017



We will visit a refugee family from Syria. The father (47), mother (44), daughters (21,13, and 5 months), and sons (17, 9) all arrived January 2017. They youngest child was born in Turkey.  The family moved often to escape from the war and the rockets outside of their homes. The family started in Marea, northern Aleppo, then travelled to Halab, the capital of Aleppo, then to Rakka, and then settled in a refugee camp for four years in Turkey. While in Syria, the father worked to lay tile and the mother was a tailor for women. Here in Arizona the father will start working as a carpenter and the mother wishes to continue as a tailor/seamstress. The entire family is looking forward to the safety of living in the United States and Arizona. They are also happy to be here to continue to educate their children. 


We will visit another family from Syria.   The father (52), mother (39), sons (19, 12, 6), and daughters (24, 22, 21) all arrived April 2017. This family moved from Syria to Northern Iraq for 18 months prior to their arrival in Arizona. The family needed to flee Syria for the health and the safety of their family. They were no longer able to receive medical care for two of their children. The children have blood disorders and need weekly medical treatment. The family is very happy to be here in Arizona where they are able to obtain the much needed care for their family.  While in Syria, the father a prominent position in  Ministry of Education.   The mother was a homemaker taking care of the family. All of the children have been studying in school; college, high school, and now in elementary school. The family is looking forward to continuing their children’s studies in the United States.


We’ll visit a third refugee family from Syria, who also fled the dangers of civil war  The family includes a father (42), mother (34) and their children, ages 8, 7, 2 and 10 months.  Like the other Syrian families, they are happy to now live in peace and safety.


Family Bios: May 20, 2017

We’ll visit a family from Afghanistan who arrived in July 2016.  The family includes three daughters ages 21, 20 and 16 and their widowed mother.  The mother left Afghanistan about 25 years ago to travel to Iran with her husband to escape the danger of war.  The father was a caretaker for a home for an Iranian family.  The children were all born in Iran but sadly their father passed away there.   The family then left Iran and moved to Pakistan where the children attended school and the mother worked as a housekeeper. When the family needed to move they walked to each new place since they had no other transportation.  In Pakistan, the oldest daughter was able to teach school.  The mother is learning English, the two younger girls go to school and the oldest daughter is supporting the family by working as a store cashier.  The families enjoy living in the US and meeting new people.

We’ll also visit a family from Iraq who has been in the US for two months.  The family includes a mother and her four children (a son, age 13,  and three daughters ages 15, 5 and 4).  Her husband was killed in Iraq during the war and the fall of Saddam Hussein.  The mother and her oldest daughter moved to Kuwait to be with her sister and for safety.   The mother then remarried and the couple had the three  younger children.  The mother studied to be a teacher while in Kuwait and worked teaching Arabic.  She is looking for work and is hoping to work in a Phoenix area restaurant.  The older children attend school and are learning to speak English very well.


Plus, we’ll meet a senior woman from Burundi.  She escaped prejudice and civil war in her country and was granted entry into the United States.  She has been living here for a few years but remains isolated from his family back home.  She most appreciates that she is able to live in peace in our country, free from war and ethnic persecution.


Family Bios: May 13, 2017

This household includes a woman, 28 years old from Iran.  She escaped persecution in Iran and lived in Turkey for 4 years before being given permission to settle in the United States.  In Iran, she had studied to be an architect but also is an artist –  likes to sing, dance, paint, do hair and makeup.  She might even go back to school to be a doctor.  Her family is all back home.  She only arrived three weeks ago and, with no family in our country, is living with a friend.  She speaks English well and is excited to start working and making a life for herself here.


This family is from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The family includes a couple and their three sons ages 17, 15 and 10 and three daughters ages 12, six and newborn.  They arrived about 3 weeks ago to join their 20 year old daughter who has been here 8 months with her two children.  The mother and father were bean and maize farmers and left their home while pregnant with first child, nearly 20 years ago.  They found relative safety in an Ugandan refugee camp, where all the children were born raised and went to school.  The children learned some English in school.   They all look forward to safe and productive lives in our country.


This refugee is a 70 year old single man from Burundi.  He escaped prejudice and civil war in his country and was granted entry into the United States.  He has been living here for a few years but remains isolated from his family back home.   



We’ll also deliver to three families from Cuba.  All three households include young, industrious couples in their late twenties/early thirties.  One couple has a 1 year old daughter.  All are recent arrivals to our country and had long journeys, often on foot , through South and Central America to arrive at our border for asylum.  They are appreciative of the freedoms that our country offers and look forward to pursuing the American dream.

Family Bios: May 6, 2017


This family is a couple from Cuba and includes a 27 year old women and 32 year old man. She arrived in June of 2016.  He arrived October 2017.  His trip took him three months to complete and he traveled through many countries, often by foot. He made his way through Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico and finally Arizona.  He is working odd jobs as a handy man.  She is cleaning houses, learning English and wants to get a job related to Economics, eventually.  She misses her mother and grandmother back in Cuba but knows that opportunities and freedom are here for her in America


This family is from Syria and includes a couple and their 3 children, ages 6, 9 and 11.  They fled the many troubles in Syria, from what was a very good life, prior to civil war.  They are now safe from harm and adjusting to their new home.  We look forward to meeting them and welcoming them to America.





This family is from Cuba and includes a couple in their 30s and their 10 year old son.   They have been here for a short time, having arrived in mid March of this year.  Their son will soon be starting school and the couple are actively seeking employment.

Family Bios: April 29, 2017

One family we will visit is also from Iraq. The mom (54) lives with her 3 grown daughters (ages 29, 27, 26). The eldest daughter has been in Phoenix for 16 months; the rest of the family arrived in December 2016 after waiting 7 years to be granted asylum. In Iraq, the 2 older daughters worked in a bank and the younger daughter was a physical fitness trainer. All three young women speak English and are employed; the mother is going to English classes. The family is happy to be here and all together. They especially like the weather in Phoenix which reminds them of home.

Another family we will visit is a young Rohingya mother (27) from Burma and her 2 young sons, ages 6 and 8. The family arrived in February. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority ethnic group in Burma. They are not legally allowed to work or attend schools. Often, the fathers, who face the most persecution, flee first and then are followed by their families. For this family, the father wound up in Malaysia, while the mother and the 2 boys fled to Indonesia. They have been separated since they fled. The older son is happy in school, but the younger son does not want to leave his mother. The mom is especially distressed that her husband remains in Malaysia and wants desperately to be reunited with him. In the meantime, she ahs found some other Rohingya families in her apartment complex that she has befriended.

We will also visit a family  from Iraq. The Father (35), Mother (17), and son (1) arrived February 2017 in Phoenix. The family came directly from Iraq to Arizona. The husband’s father and sister from Iraq arrived in Phoenix in April. Extended family members also reside in Texas. Two sisters and two brothers are still in Iraq. Family members worked for the US Armed Forces in Iraq. After 2005 the family needed to flee due to safety. In 2013 the family was separated and applied for visas to come to the United States. They are very happy to be in Arizona and they are very appreciative for all of the help they are receiving. They are already friendly with other resettled families and they are looking forward to their new life in America.

Family Bios: April 22, 2017

One family we will visit came from Cuba.  The father, age 35, studied gastronomy.  He is very interested in working in the food and wine industry.  The mother, age 43, has a degree in economics and worked in a boutique in Cuba.  They made about $15.00 per month each in Cuba.  They left by plane on a tourist visa to Mexico and crossed the border through Nogales.  They were very worried about making the trip with their daughter, age 12.  The trip was hard but they made it safely.  They arrived in Arizona September of 2016.  The mother and father are working and the daughter is attending school.  The parents speak English well and attend English classes.


Another is two brothers who recently moved out of their sister’s apartment into their own.  They are originally from the Congo and arrived in Arizona in 2011 with their sister and her family.  Since their arrival, the younger brother has been attending school and will graduate from high school this year.  He plans on attending Phoenix College while he works.  He also loves to draw.  The older brother finished his high school degree online, is currently attending Phoenix College for a culinary degree and plans on going to ASU for a business degree.  He has had jobs at the airport and currently works at a Café.  The older brother speaks English very well and loves to answer questions.  He said: “I love questions because that means people are interested.”


The other family we will visit is a family of 11. This family arrived from Democratic Republic of Congo in 2015, but need a bit of extra assistance with so many kids. We look forward to visiting them and learning more about their interests.