Our first family we will visit is from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) consisting of a mother, her five children and one grandchild. The family fled DRC many years ago and went to Rwanda, where they lived in 2 separate refugee camps. The refugee camps had a primary school and all the children were able to attend. The family arrived in America in November and they are happy to be here, safe, and to start their new lives.
Our second family isalso from DRC consisting of a father, mother, their 8 children and one grandchild. They fled DRC 20 years ago and stayed in a refugee camp in Tanzania. The adult children were able to complete High School through the UNICEF school in their refugee camp, and the younger children completed their respective grades. The parents were unable to work in the camp, however. The family arrived to America in August. The adult sons have found work and the minor children are enrolled in school. Both parents struggle with health issues, but are looking for work. They are all happy to be here and hope to make a good life.
Our third family is from Bhutan and India. The father is Lhotshampas, one of Bhutan’s 3 main ethnic groups that was forced to flee in the 1990s. He told of running in the night, over mountains, trying to stay away form wild animals, in search of safe haven. He and his family made their way to Nepal, where they found safety in the refugee camp. The father received special permission to leave the camp to go study for his masters in Zoology in India. While there, he met his wife, who is a native of India, and they were married. When their first child (now 17) was born, they went back to Nepal to be with the father’s family. In Nepal, the father was able to teach and eventually become a principal of a school. The mother also taught primary school. Their son (12) was born in Nepal. The children were able to attend school. They arrived to America in August. The mother has some family here, who have helped with their adjustment and integration. The children are doing very well in school; in fact, the daughter was able to immediately enroll in typical classes without needed to be in the English as a Second Language classes. The mother has secured a job packaging cakes, and the father is awaiting the evaluation of his academic credentials in hopes of teaching again. The family is very happy to be here, to be safe, to have access to a good education for their children and a permanent home.