November 24, 2012

Somali FlagThe first family we will visit is from Somalia via South Africa, and now resides in Phoenix. Their moderately sized two bedroom apartment sits on the first floor of their apartment complex.  Although well kept, it is sparse and in need of furniture. The mother  is very young, and has two active boys who keep her busy! The family had a hard journey to the United States. They were transplanted from Somalia because of strife and lived in South Africa for over eight years. Their children were born in South Africa but were denied citizenship. While South Africa offered more stability than Somalia, there was a good amount of discrimination. People from Somalia are looked down upon in South Africa and they have very limited access to employment.  The mother in this family is still learning to speak English. The two young boys are just beginning to walk. They have very few toys, and would truly love to receive some. The father ran a shop in South Africa and both of the parents have experience in small business. This delightful family is enjoying the mild weather in Phoenix.

Iraqi FlagThe next family we will visit is from Iraq and traveled to the USA through Turkey. The family has two first floor apartments which are about forty yards apart  in complex separated by a small parking lot. This is a large family.  Nine children are living with their parents in Arizona, and older twins are still living in Iraq. The children range in age from a toddler to college aged. One apartment is set up for young children, girls, and the parents,while the second is used for the two older boys, and for storage of items. The family had a very difficult time in Iraq. They are from very violent region and they are Kurds, an ethnic group that routinely faces discrimination. They were also targeted for violence because of their religion. This discrimination continued in Turkey because they remained part of a small minority. The father and family were denied work. It was not until father fought with the schools that children were allowed attend and receive an education. The father speaks multiple languages.  The family has extreme need of items to support the children’s education. They could also use some toys to entertain the children.  They have a few bikes, but they are in very bad shape. They could use a minimum of three bikes for the children under twelve. The father was a taxi driver in Iraq and is excited to live in Phoenix. The entire family is happy to be here. The children also need clothing; many have ill-fitting clothing at this point.  This family is making the best of a challenging situation and is appreciative of any assistance from WTAP.

Iraqi FlagThe last family we will visit is a family of three with one son who is college aged. They have a nice apartment on the first floor of a well kept apartment complex. Their journey took them from Iraq to Syria, where they lived for seven years. Like many refugees it was difficult for this family to find stability. After fleeing a war torn city in Iraq, they found themselves a war torn part of Syria. There was a lot of difficulty finding work or schools for the children because they were not citizens of Syria. The father has some illnesses and finds it hard to navigate the medical system here because he speaks no English. The family has relatives who are living nearby who were able to provide them with some furniture and other items. They could use other things to make their adjustment to Arizona more pleasant. The son would love to attend college in Arizona and to find a job as soon as possible.


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