This Week’s Families

Family Bios: October 20, 2018

We will visit a young man from the Roshni province of Afghanistan who arrived in the US 9/11/18.  He is just 18 years old and fled his country at the encouragement of his parents due to death threats on him from the Taliban.  He is unsure why he was targeted.  His parents wanted him kept safe so they gave him some money they had saved up and he fled to India first and then onto Sri Lanka where he asked for asylum.  He traveled to the US once all documents were in order.  He wants to be able to help his parents with money and so he is very interested in getting a job first and then pursuing an education after he is more financially stable.  Our client has no siblings and is hoping his parents can join him in the US at some point.  He is looking forward to learning English and making new friends in America.


We will also visit a husband, wife and the niece and nephew of the couple.  They fled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011 due to increasing danger to their village from decades of war.  They had many family members killed and they fled for their lives to Malawi where they stayed at a refugee camp.  They married 1 year ago in the camp.  Prior to leaving their village the husband’s job was running a market where he sold beer and wine.  His wife was a student.  When they fled their village the niece and nephew were just 7 and 11 respectively.  They learned they have some family in north Phoenix but have not had a chance to meet their yet.  They are trying to get jobs and learning English.


And we will also visit a young man who arrived from Mexico on his own as a minor and after foster care,  is about to move into his very first apartment.  We will learn more about him when we visit.

Family Bios: October 13, 2018

We will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mom and dad were farmers, who were forced to flee the conflict in their country with their infant daughter. They spent over 18 years in Uganda waiting for asylum. In that time, their family grew to include 7 more children. Some were able to attend school in camp, and many speak some English.  This family now also includes a baby who was born just after their arrival in Phoenix and a grandmother who lives with them too. They are all in a 2-bedroom apartment. They are hoping to secure a bigger space soon.  The children are all very eager to start school, and specifically asked for backpacks and school supplies. The while family is anxious to start a new life and hope one day to be able to visit their oldest sibling, the only child born in the Congo, who was resettled in Kentucky.


We will also visit a family from Myanmar, formerly Burma. This family is Rohingya, part of a Muslim minority group in Myanmar that has suffered tremendous persecution. Father, mother and a brother fled Myanmar in 2005. They spent 10 years awaiting asylum in Malaysia before being resettled here in Phoenix in December 2015. Both of this family’s children,  2 boys,  were born in Malaysia.  In Myanmar, the father and brother were house painters. For the years they were in Malaysia, they did construction work. Now in Phoenix, they also work together. They joked that they will work together all their lives. Mom has settled into life in Phoenix and has made friends with Rohingya neighbors in her complex. The older boy is doing well in school and his little brother has a friend his age who lives right next door.The family is happy to be here, together, working and getting an education, things that were not safely possible for them back in Myanmar.


Finally, we will visit another Rohingya family from Myanmar. Mom and dad have 2 girls, ages 12 and 11, and a baby boy, who is just 9 months old. Dad is working and the girls are doing very well in school. Their teacher said their English is already great. Volunteers who visit will get to hear the story of this family’s journey to America from the girls and Dad, who speak English but were not home the day of our home visit.

Family Bios: October 6, 2018

We will be visiting a family of 6 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The husband, wife, and their 4 children arrived to Phoenix on July 24th, 2018. There is one 4 year old girl and 3 boys ages 12, 10, and 7. The 3 sons started school in September, while the little girl stays at home with her parents. The husband fled the DRC to Tanzania with his family when he was 10 years old due to war, and lived in a camp for 10 years. His father passed away when fleeing, and his mother is still living in the refugee camp. He met his wife in the camp where they had all of their 4 children. The wife’s father still lives in the DRC, and her mom is still living in the refugee camp. They both miss their parents very much, and wish they could be in the U.S. with them.


We will also meet another family of 6 from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The family arrived in Arizona on August 21st 2018. The mother and grandmother live together with four kids: two daughters aged 14 and 4, as well as two sons aged 12 and 1 years old. The mother left the Congo in 1997 with her parents and her four siblings to a refugee camp in Tanzania. The mother’s father died in the refugee camp and her sisters and brothers are still currently living at the refugee camp. Two of the children started school in September and they are very happy in school and doing well. The mother hopes to get a job to help support her family.


And we will meet two male roommates from Afghanistan, ages 29 and 22. They arrived separately to the US in August 2018, likely fleeing the Taliban because of roles they played in supporting our military. We will learn more about these two young men when we visit.

Family Bios: September 29, 2018

We will visit 3 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo.


One family is a family of 7: mom, dad and 5 children. Both the mom and dad are orphans. The father said that his life in Congo, especially as an orphan, was hard and sad. He fled to Tanzania in 1999. His wife fled the same year. Years later, met in the camp and were married. All five of their children were born in Tanzania.The children who were old enough, were able to attend school in camp. Since arriving here in April, the older children have been thriving in school. Dad even bragged that a couple of the older ones are doing so well with their English that they served as translators last time the family had to go to a doctor’s appointment.  Mom and dad have both secured jobs: dad works the third shift, in the night, and mom heads to work when dad gets home in the early morning hours. It is hard, but this way there is always someone with the children. The family is happy to be here together, safe in their new home.



We’ll visit a family who also fled to Tanzania from the DRC. Mom left in 1996, when she was just a young girl. She met her husband and got married in camp, but she is in the US alone with her 5 children.  The family arrived in June and so the children have recently started school. Mom has secured a job and has a neighbor girl, who speaks both Swahili and English, babysit when she is at work. Mom says they are all happy.  She is thankful that WTAP will be able to bring some colorful artwork for her walls and items to help her keep her house clean.



A third family also followed the route to safety through Tanzania. Mom and Dad fled DRC with 2 small children and a baby on the way. During the 22 years the family spent in a refugee camp, 5 more children were born and the oldest daughter has 2 children of her own. Now 11 live together in a home in Phoenix. (Fun side note: The home this family rents is owned by a landlord who buys houses, remodels them and then rents specifically to refugees. Good people doing good work!)  Most of the family arrived in May. The older son was on a separate case from the rest of the family and only arrived in August. There is still one sister who remains in camp. The family is hoping she is able to come soon and complete their family of 12. The children are all doing well in school and improving their English. One of the older daughters has secured work. The family asked to thank the WTAP volunteers for your good work.


Family Bios: September 22, 2018

We will meet a young man from Afghanistan who arrived in March of 2018.  He recently moved into his own apartment.  He speaks English quite well and was involved with our military personnel in his home country.  This association proved dangerous and he was granted asylum it the US.




We also will meet a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo who spent most of their lives in refugee camp.  War has existed in DRC for 20 years, resulting in millions of refugees. Some camps have as many as 400,000 people, all living in tents.  This couple met in camp and can barely remember their home country, having left with their parents many years ago.  All of their children were born in refugee camp.    The children are doing well in school and the family is happy to be living in peace.

Family Bios: September 15, 2018 (afternoon)

We will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mother and father, both farmers, fled the violence and destruction in their country 16 years ago. They left with three small children and ran to Tanzania.  In Tanzania, the children were able to go to the camp school. The family tried to make a life while they waited for asylum. Three more children were born while they waited. The mother, father and 5 of their children arrived here in Phoenix at the end of August. Refugees are only allowed to bring one bag per person and the family was told not to bring clothes, so they arrived with the clothes on their backs. Their caseworker has been kind enough to share some of his family’s clothes with them. WTAP will also be helping them get ready for the upcoming change of seasons. The mother’s greatest sorrow is that their oldest child was not able to come with them. She said that she, her husband and the children are so glad to be in Phoenix, but she said she cannot be completely happy until she is with all her children.


We will also visit two families whose children attend school in Washington Elementary School District, a WTAP partner organization.  We will meet a family from Sudan who has been here for almost three years.  Two of their children were born in the United States.  The father works to support the family and the oldest child is an especially good student.




And we will meet a mother from DRC and her four children.  The mother works in at food processing plant.  Her oldest daughter is currently looking for work.  The other three children (two boys and a girl) are in school and doing quite well.  Through our partner, PCs for Refugees, we will bring a computer to help with their learning.  We will learn more about the families during our visit.

Family Bios: September 15, 2018 (morning)


We will visit 2 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose children go to school at the Valencia Newcomer School , a WTAP partner organization.  The first family includes a man, his four children and his mother.  His wife died in refugee camp.  The family arrived to Phoenix just a few months ago after spending most of their life in a Tanzania refugee camp.  The man fled DRC with his family as a young child.  He met his wife and began a family in camp.  All of his children were born in camp.  After 20 years, he and his mother have their first real home.   The children are adjusting well to school.  The man is employed in food processing.


The other family includes a husband, wife and their six children.  All of the children were born into refugee camp.  The husband and wife fled the dangers of war in DRC almost 20 years ago.  The met and married in camp and began to raise a family. We will learn more about this family when we meet them on Saturday.




We will also visit a family from Afghanistan. The father worked with the US Armed Forces for 7 years. When his family began to receive threats and he was unable to secure a Special Immigration Visa from the USA, he fled with his pregnant wife and their toddler. They stayed in Pakistan for 4 years awaiting a grant of asylum. Their journey to Phoenix has been very difficult. The father says he hopes people know how hard it is to run away from home, to leave behind your family and friends, to give up all control over your life, your family, your future, just so you can be safe. He described the many, many interviews the family endured in the asylum process. In 2017, this family was accepted for resettlement in the USA. But his wife had just discovered she was pregnant and they were told they could not leave until the baby underwent a medical exam. Their anxiety was compounded as a new administration took office in the US and changed the criteria for accepting refugees. They had to wait 12 more months before finally coming to the States.  Initially, the family was settled in Detroit. Unfortunately, their apartment was infested with bugs and they did not feel secure in their neighborhood. After a couple of months, they were transferred to Phoenix. Since all of their resettlement funds had been used up in Detroit, the family arrived with next to nothing.  So far, they really like Phoenix. Their caseworker, a former WTAP client, is also from Afghanistan and has been helping them settle in their new apartment. They were very happy for the WTAP initial visit and are looking forward to meeting the welcome volunteers!


Family Bios: September 8, 2018

We will visit a family composed of a husband, his wife and their six children.  They have five daughters, ages 14, 12, 10, 3, and 18 months and one son, age 6.  The parents were born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but fled their homes to Uganda because of the conflicts in their country.  The husband was 14 years old when he left, and his wife was 13 years old.  They met in the refugee camp and married, and five of their children were born there.  The husband lived in the camp for 18 years, and his wife was in the camp for 20 years.  Husband was a farmer and had a small garden in the camp.  The family came to the United States in August 2016 and settled in Phoenix.  They are pleased to live in a country where there is no war, and their children are able to get an education.  They were both unable to attend school because of the conflicts in their country.  Their children love school, and they want to go to university.  One daughter wants to be a doctor while another wants to be a lawyer, and their son wants to be a policeman.  The mother is currently working in food production at Papa Johns where her husband is actively seeking new employment.

We will also visit  family that includes a husband, age 46, his wife, age 33, and seven sons, ages 16, 14, 13, 12, 8, 6 and 2.  The parents are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and both fled their country because of the civil war, and each settled in the same refugee camp in Tanzania where they met and married.  The wife stated that she was 12 years old when she left the Congo with her parents.  All of their children were born in the camp where the husband worked as a teacher, and the wife was a farmer.  The husband had completed high school in the Congo and had a diploma..  The husband is working making furniture and was at his job when the wife was interviewed.  The wife is working in food production.. She said that “life is good for the family”, and the children love school and are doing well. The children talk about wanting to further their education and become doctors, lawyers and police officers.  One child would like to return to his country one day and run for president.  They arrived in Arizona four months ago and are so happy to live in a country where they can establish a permanent home in a peaceful stable country which provides their children an opportunity to get an education and pursue their dreams.

And we will visit a family that consists of of a husband, age 38, his wife, age 36, three daughters, ages 13, 12, and 8, and two sons, ages 6 and 2.  His wife is 8 months pregnant with their sixth child.  They each fled the Democratic Republic of Congo to Burundi in 2000 because of the war, and they met in the camp in 2004 where they married and had all of their children there.  The husband ran a small business in the camp, and the children attended school which was taught in French.  They arrived in Arizona in 2017, and their life has really improved because it is a peaceful stable country in which their children have the opportunity to go to school.  Education is very important to the parents as the husband had to drop out of school in the 7th grade and the wife in the 10th grade.  Their children love school and are doing well academically. The children have dreams of becoming a doctor, an actress, and a pilot while the wife’s dream is to return to school to learn English.  The husband said that he needs to focus on working hard to provide for his family.  Both spouses are working in food production for Papa Johns but the wife is planning to stop working soon because of her pregnancy.

Family Bios: August 25, 2018

We will meet a family of four from Pakistan who arrived in March.   The mother is busy with her two sons, ages 8 and 5, and the father is busy with his job.   Like so many others,  political persecution forced them to flee their country.  Before finally reaching the United States and Arizona, they spent years in Sri Lanka, where they were not permitted to work.  They are glad to be here and feel fortunate in being able to join family members who were previously settled in Phoenix.



A Burmese family of three will be on our route today.   Coming to the United States allowed them to escape the Burmese persecution of the Rohinga people.   Their lively little girl is three and seems happy in her new home.  They reached Phoenix in March and have family in the area who have been helpful in getting them settled into their new life.



Our other family comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo.   This family of 9 also arrived in Arizona in March after spending 5 years in a refugee camp in Uganda.  Sadly, their father died during their years in the camp.  The children, 4 girls and 4 boys,  range in age from 8 to 22.  The older ones are hoping to find jobs and continue their schooling.   The younger ones started school last spring.   Their elementary school is within walking distance; the middle children ride a bus to their school.    Some of the members of the family were able to learn English while in the Uganda camp.