We’ll visit a family from Iraq. The mother (54), her 2 daughters (ages 20 and 24) and her granddaughter (5) have endured a great deal of hardship and heartache to arrive here. The family decided to leave Iraq in 2011 after two attempts to kidnap their only son. The father, the son and one daughter fled to Turkey where they have family. The mother and the older daughter, who was widowed and pregnant, went first to Syria for medical care and eventually arrived in Turkey via Beirut. Shortly after the family was reunited in Turkey and had applied for asylum, it was discovered that the father had end stage cancer. He died a few weeks later. The son and his wife fled to Finland, where they are still seeking legal status. The mother, her 2 daughters and her granddaughter waited 3 more years before being granted asylum in the USA. The family has been in Arizona for about 8 months. Both daughters are employed and doing well. Two of the mother’s nephews live in Phoenix and have been very helpful to them. They are so thankful to be here, to be safe and to have the support of neighbors like WTAP volunteers.
We’ll visit a family from Afghanistan. The father and mother have a young daughter (18 months). They have been in Arizona for a month. In Afghanistan, the father worked for the US Corps of Engineers as a civil engineer for more than 3 years. His work with the US government jeopardized his family’s safety, so he was granted a special visa to flee the country and resettle here. The father, who speaks very good English, is finishing up orientation classes at the IRC and then hopes to find a job. Asylum seekers who come on special visas are not afforded the same resettlement funds as others; there are only a few plates, a couple of glasses and two mattresses in this family’s apartment. A delivery from the Welcome to America Project will make a world of difference for this family as they start a new life here. They are especially excited to get sheets and blankets and toys for their daughter.
And we will visit a family from Burma (Myanmar). The father (27) and mother (27) have a son (5) and a daughter (3). The family suffered extreme persecution in their country because of their religious beliefs. The mother said they never felt safe and were in constant fear of their government. The father fled Burma with his family as a teenager in 2007. The mother fled with her family shortly after. The father and mother met in Malaysia, where they were seeking refuge, and married in 2011. Both of their children were born in Malaysia. The family has been in Phoenix for 2 months. The father, who worked in restaurants in Malaysia, has found work as a sushi chef. The mother stays home with the daughter while their 5-year old son attends a school close to their home. He likes his school and is learning English. This family has no relatives anywhere in the USA. They are very grateful for the support of strangers like the WTAP volunteers.