We will visit a Rohingya family from Burma (Mynamar). Mom (34) and dad (46) have 4 children (ages 15, 14, 9 and 1). In Burma, the Rohingya people practice a minority religion and they are not considered citizens of their country. Their children cannot attend school. Adults cannot legally work. They cannot vote or travel freely. The family escaped what they described as constant violence. They first went to Thailand and eventually wound up in a refugee camp in Malaysia. They were in Malaysia 3 years waiting to be granted asylum. In Burma, the father made and sold perfume. He showed some of his product with the WTAP volunteers who visited. The family arrived iin Phoenix just a few weeks ago. The father is especially happy that his children are allowed to attend school in America. He dreams of them being engineers or doctors or judges, opportunities that he never had. He said “America is the number one place in the world,” and “Americans have big, big hearts.” The dad said his family is so grateful to be safe here and he hopes one day they will all become American citizens.
We will also visit a family from Cuba. Mom (34) and her partner (29) are expecting a baby boy in April. They have recently been joined in Phoenix by mom’s children (ages 14 and 12). Mom and her partner are both physicians (family practice and gastroenterology). They left Cuba on a medical mission to Venezuela. They were there 3 years before fleeing to Colombia on foot. At the US Embassy in Colombia, they requested asylum. They arrived in Phoenix in April and were joined by the children in October. Mom is currently on bed rest due to some complications with her pregnancy. She is anxious to get to work to help support her family. Her partner is working in a warehouse, He is happy for the work, but says it is frustrating not to be using his skills as a doctor. The children are both in school and adjusting well. Everyone is excited for the baby and they are happy to be together again.