This Week’s Families

Family Bios: January 20, 2018

We’ll visit a family originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who arrived in the Phoenix two years ago. They left the DRC 15 years ago and fled to the neighboring country of Uganda where they remained in a refugee camp. It was there that the father of this family, who had health problems, passed away, leaving his widow with 5 children to raise. She worked in farming in Uganda to support the family. Since arriving in Phoenix, she and her 25 year-old son (who plays the guitar well) have found jobs while the other four children (two girls ages 19 and 12, and two boys ages 16 and 20) attend high school. They have had their share of challenges since arriving here, but have continued to work hard to improve their situation. They are happy to be in America.


We’ll also visit a family from Afghanistan who arrived in the US just one month ago. They left Afghanistan three years ago because of the poor, unsafe conditions and lived in Pakistan until receiving visas to come to America. The father of this family was an engineer, but his whereabouts are unknown at this time. The mother, grandmother, two daughters (ages 15 & 16) and a son (age 13) came on their own to Phoenix. They are so pleased to be here where they feel safe, are getting settled and registered in high school, and have dreams of furthering their education. The 16 year-old would like to become a judge, the 15 year-old President of the US, and the 13 year-old a doctor.


And we’ll visit a young man who arrived in Phoenix six weeks ago. He is originally from Eritrea, but because of his conversion to Christianity, he was persecuted and imprisoned for 4 years. He had been a math teacher before leaving Eritrea, fled to Djibouti where he lived in a refugee camp for 5 years. He met his wife there, who is pregnant and due this month with their first child. He is looking for work in Phoenix, is teaching at a local Christian church, and trying to bring his wife to join him in America.

Family Bios: January 13, 2018

We’ll visit a family who had to flee the unrest and violence in their home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. They escaped to Uganda, where they lived in a refugee camp and where some of the children were born. It was not possible for refugee families to get regular work in Uganda, but these parents were able to grow some of their food such as corn and beans. There are four sons (ages 13, 12, 11,7) and three daughters ( 5,3,1). They have been in Arizona less than two months, but seem optimistic and lively. The children are really looking forward to getting enrolled in school after this holiday season.


We’ll also visit a mother and her children, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who spent time in Malawi before being resettled in Arizona. The children have been in school here for several months now and like it very much. They have new friends in their apartment/school community . Unfortunately, their mother is in poor health.



And we will visit a third family, also from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who is related to the above mentioned family. The children and their father spent time in a refugee camp in Tanzania before being resettled here. They have been in Arizona now for about 7 months. The children enjoy school and are learning English quickly.

Family Bios: January 7, 2018


We’ll visit a large family who recently arrived from Afghanistan.  The father worked for an American company and this put the family in danger.  They left their grandparents and friends behind and relocated to Arizona.  The father speaks English well.  He is teaching his wife and younger kids some English and asked for a television, so they can learn English through watching television programs.  They miss their grandparents but say that they are safe.   The kids were registered in school the last week before winter vacation, so they could get used to school and make some new friends.  They are happy at school, the father says.   The father has a friend who arrived the same day and lives in same area, so they support each other.


We will visit a second family from Afghanistan that includes a husband, wife and their 1 year old son and 5 year old twin daughters.  We will learn more about the family when we visit


Family Bios: January 6, 2018

We’ll visit a family whose extended family consists of three generations. There are eleven people living in the household. The paternal grandmother, age 75, the father, age, 47, the mother, age 40, and eight children. There are five boys, ages 13, 11, 7, 4 and 2, and three girls, ages 9, 8, and 3 months. The youngest child was born premature. She is still on oxygen and has already had cardiac surgery but she appears to be doing well now. The family is Eritrean but the grandparents fled the war in Eritrea and settled in a refugee camp in Sudan where all of their children and grandchildren were born except for the youngest child, who was born in the US. The parents received religious education but did not go to a public school. The family was brought to Arizona in December 2016 by the IRC because of the war that was then going on in Sudan. The wife is a homemaker. The husband worked in a restaurant as a waiter in Sudan. He was employed for a month in a Phoenix warehouse before his mother became ill and was hospitalized. He quit his job to take care of her, and he is now looking for employment. The children now “love school” and they are teaching their mother English. She was going to language classes at IRC but had to leave after two weeks because she delivered her daughter prematurely. When asked about the dreams they have for the family, the mother focused on the importance of their children being educated and having the opportunity for a bright future.


And we’ll visit a family who arrived in mid November 2017.  They are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  They left their country because of the war and spent 20 years in a refugee camp in Tanzania.  The father is taking English classes and speaks some English.  Four of the children are attending school.  There ages are 16, 13, 10 and 7.  The oldest daughter is 18 years old and helps mom take care of the youngest daughter (age 1).  When the mom was asked what she misses about her country she said she does not feel connected to her country, all she remembers is war and she left young.  She mentioned the biggest difference in Arizona is the weather.  She is grateful, feels safer and likes that the kids get food at school.  She said in the refugee camp access to food was difficult and they had to walk long distances for medications and supplies.

Family Bios: December 30, 2017

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.

Family Bios: December 29, 2017

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.”

Family Bios: December 23, 2017

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.

Family Bios: December 16, 2017

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.

Family Bios: December 10, 2017

We will visit a family from Burundi. Burundi has endured more than a decade of wars. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country in search of peace and safety. This family fled their home in 2004.  They remained in a camp for 10 years and arrived in Phoenix 3 years ago. The mother originally left with her two older daughters, one of whom has special needs. Another daughter was born in the camp, and the youngest daughter is an American, born 9 months ago.  The family is making ends meet in their small, one bedroom apartment. The older children are in school and the mother has friends in her apartment complex. They are very thankful for the support of WTAP.


We will also visit a family from Eritrea. The mother has four children: three girls (13, 11, 4) and a son (15). The youngest child was born in the refugee camp in Ethiopia, where the family waited 7 years before being accepted for asylum. The family arrived in the USA in 2015. They lived first in Colorado, then in North Carolina, and have only recently arrived in Phoenix. The mother is currently working as a caretaker/nanny and the older children are in school.  All speak English.  When we asked her favorite thing about America, the oldest daughter said, “My education.”