This Week’s Families

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.

Family Bios: February 2, 2019

This week, we are happy to welcome an Ethiopian family of three who lived in Nairobi, Kenya. The parents worked hard at odd jobs to make ends meet. The father worked as a street vendor selling water and snacks. The mother worked at a hair salon and at a coffee shop. Although the parents are both from Ethiopia, they did not meet until they each fled to Nairobi. Their young son is 5 years old and is already adapting well to the new environment. His current interests include watching movies and playing soccer with his father. The whole family is settling comfortably into their new home and are excited for the opportunities the U.S. will provide for them.

Also, we will be meeting a Congolese family of four, but soon to be five with an expecting mother. After fleeing difficult individual circumstances as chikdren, the parents settled into a refugee camp where they eventually met. While at the refugee camp, the father taught mathematics to other refugees, since he was a high school teacher prior to his move. Although they have only been in the U.S. for a short time, the parents are working hard to learn English. The father is currently looking for a job to support his growing family. Overall, the family is happy to begin a new chapter here in the U.S.

Lastly, we are excited to be welcoming a gentleman from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was a former barber and tailor. He fled DRC and settled in a refugee camp in Malawi for 7 years. He is currently living in an apartment with three other refugee individuals. Although he is not employed, he actively seeking job opportunities available here in the U.S.

Family Bios: January 26, 2019

We will visit a family who is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They fled their home 20 years ago because of the war within the country. The mother, age 35, has six children all of whom were born in the refugee camp in Tanzania before she came to the United States in July 2016. Her daughters are ages 14, 12, and 3, and her sons are ages 10, 7, and 4. She originally settled in Phoenix where she had relatives residing but she moved later to Tucson to find employment. She returned to Phoenix in September 2018 and is currently looking for employment. Her children are doing well in school but she finds it challenging being the only caretaker for them. She is pleased that she can now provide a safe environment for her children and hopes that their lives will continue to improve.

We will also meet a family from Rwanda who fled their country in 1994 because of chaos and danger in the country. They settled in Tanzania but were only able to remain there two years before being sent back to Rwanda in 1996. The father mentioned was imprisoned for political reasons for three years in Rwanda and said the family had to leave again in 2000. They settled in Malawi where they lived in a refugee camp for 18 years before coming to Arizona in September 2018. The father, age 67, and his wife, age 66, have a daughter, age 29, and a son, age 28, who are living with them. The daughter is currently employed by a paper company in the area. The son was working but had to stop temporarily because he broke his arm. The family is very happy to be in the United States, and the father is searching for work so that he could buy a car which would make life easier for them.

And we will meet a family originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo but fled the war there in 1996 settling in a refugee camp in Tanzania where they lived for 22 years. All of the mother’s six children were born in the camp and were educated there. The mother, age 42, has four daughters, ages 19,16, 14, and 3, and two sons, ages 12 and 8. The family arrived in Arizona in September 2018, and the children are all in school and doing well. The mother who was a farmer in her own country worked as a cleaning woman in the refugee camp. She is now employed by Papa John’s, and her oldest daughter is working in a nearby laundromat. This daughter hopes someday to be able to go to school as she loves learning. Her siblings have told their mother that they have dreams of being in the medical and legal professions.