Family Bios: January 18, 2020

Family Bios: January 18, 2020

This Saturday, we will meet a family which includes two sisters, their brother and cousins living in two separate apartments of the same complex.  They are originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, but due to wars and conflict they fled to Burundi in 1996.  They lost their parents in the conflict.  While living in Burundi, they made a living doing whatever they could – styling hair & doing hair braiding.   They attended school off and on.  Now that they are in America, they are very happy to be here, are looking forward to improving their English, finding work, and the older boys getting their GEDs.  One of the sisters who loves to cook does the cooking for the entire family.  The other sister loves to sew, and is hoping to get a sewing machine, and dreams of designing clothing and selling her clothing.

We will also meet a family who is originally from Iraq, having lived there during the Sadam Hussein regime.  Living their lives in fear, they left Iraq in 2003 during the Iraqi war.  They fled to Jordan where they lived for 10 years and one son was born.  In 2011 they came to America, living in Florida where their second son was born, then relocated to Arizona.  Although they are happy to be in the US and have found safety and opportunity, they have suffered many challenges, including the ceiling caving in on one of their apartments, badly injuring the father’s leg.  One of their sons struggles from disabilities, but they are finding services that are available that can help them.  The mother is trying to find work to help support the family.

Family Bios: December 21, 2019

On Saturday, we will visit a family of seven from Eritrea.  They fled from Ethiopia after being in a Refugee camp for 10 years and arrived in the US in June 2018. The husband works at the airport while the mother stays at home. They have 5 children – 3 sons (17 years, 13 years and 14 months old) and 2 daughters (21 years and 16 years old).  The children are enjoying going to school and have great grades. The two older boys are excelling on the track team at their high school and all the family members are soccer fans. The mother also enjoys crocheting and cooking.

We will also visit a family from Afghanistan who arrived in October 2018.  The mother and father have two sons (9 years and 3 years old). The 9-year old loves school in America and is continuing to learn English. He is very excited for a computer to help with his English as well.  The mother speaks little English and is taking classes to learn. The family enjoys soccer and the boys love all sorts of toys, especially cars.  The family said it was difficult not having transportation at first, but now the husband has a car.  The mother works as a housekeeper at the Phoenician.  They love America and all of the different culture it has to offer.

We will meet a family from Afghanistan as well. They arrived three months ago, and did not know anyone in the area when moving here.  They do not speak English and it has been a difficulty transition. The parents have three children – two sons (13 years and 9 years old), and a five-year old daughter.   The children are learning English in school and enjoying it. The husband has not found work yet because of the language barrier and having to care for his 9-year-old handicap son.

Family Bios: December 7, 2019

We will visit a family of four from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The couple and their two children (son 20, daughter 17) arrived in August of this year. The husband and wife fled civil war in DRC with her oldest children almost 20 years ago. They remained in a refugee camp until their arrival to the US. The father worked in healthcare and education in the refugee camps. Their son has already found work here and their daughter is in school. The father was looking for work but was hit by a car while riding his bicycle and is recovering from an injury. Sadly, not all the family is in the United States. Some older children remain behind in the refugee camp.

We will also meet two families who live together, all of whom are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They arrived at different times during the summer. There are two adult females and five children (boys ages 5, 13, 19; girls age 12, 18). The family fled DRC in 2001 and found safety in a Burundi refugee camp. The children lived in the refugee camp for all of their lives before coming to Arizona. The family is fast learning English with the older siblings holding jobs to support the family.

We will meet a third family from DRC as well. The home includes a mother (age 72) and her children and grandchildren (female ages 35, 27, 16, 8; males ages 18, 3). Most of their lives were spent in refugee camps in Rwanda. They arrived in separate groups over the past few months and are happy to be reunited in Phoenix.

Family Bios: November 23, 2019

On Saturday, we will visit a family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The mother and father fled with their young children. They are in the US with a daughter who was only 2 years old when they ran and another who was born in camp. The girls are now 23 and 18 years old; the family spent 21 years in a camp in Rwanda waiting for a place to call home. Their 2-year old granddaughter also lives with them.  The family arrived at 3 different times, as they were all separated during the resettlement process. They came with one more family member who has since moved to Kentucky in search of work. Two more grown children remain in Rwanda.  In the DRC, the father was an evangelist. He was able to continue preaching in Rwanda and, the day of our visit, he had his bible always close at hand. None of the children were able to attend school during their long stay in Rwanda. The family is happy to be here, in a home. They look forward to working and to having the youngest girl have a chance to go to school.

We will also meet a family from Afghanistan. The mother fled her home while pregnant, on her own, with a one-year old son.  She ran to Turkey where she waited 9 years for a place to call home.  While she waited, she gave birth to another son and later a daughter.  The mom is thankful that her boys were able to attend school in Turkey. She says they are already speaking some English after being in an American school since only the beginning of the year.  Her daughter, who is 4 years old and stays at home with her, is speaking English just from hearing her brothers talk about school every day.  In Afghanistan and in Turkey, the mother was a seamstress. She was especially keen on the possibility of receiving a sewing machine from WTAP. She also said she would try to be brave and learn to ride a bike when she heard of WTAP’s partnership with Phantom Cyclist. She was thrilled for her children to have a computer as well.  The mom said her family really likes America. There is no violence here; her boys love school; her daughter delights in visiting the park.  She is so grateful for the safety of her family and the generosity of WTAP and all of the volunteers!

And we will meet a third family from DRC, a couple with 6 sons, ages 9 to 25. They arrived in August kf this year. We will learn more about this family, their journey and their dreams when we see them on Saturday.

Family Bios: November 9, 2019

On Saturday morning, we will visit a family of ten who came to America in early May 2019.  The father and mother had spent the last 20+ years in a Congo refugee camp, but most recently spent two years in a refugee camp in Tanzania.  The husband and wife met at the Congo refugee camp, and all of their children were born and have been raised in a refugee camp.  The father has utilized his skills as a mechanic in the past and currently does have a job.  The family has had a positive experience since coming to the US.  The school-age children are enrolled in and are attending school.

We will also visit a family of eight who arrived in America in late August 2019.  They came to America so that their children could have a good education and would be safe.  Previously in Afghanistan, the father worked as a security coordinator for over ten years.  He is actively looking for a job and hopes that he can find one close to their home so that he can bike to work, as he has no transportation.  The father speaks excellent English, and he is confident that his children will learn English at their school and by being in the US.  The mother is a gracious host and a wonderful housekeeper.

We will also see a family of six from Tanzania, who came to America in August 2019.   They all speak Swahili and have a neighbor who is able to translate to English, if needed.   The father lost his sight about four months ago (he is hopeful that he might regain his sight, if medically possible in the US), and his wife died prior to the family coming to America.    The father has two sons and two daughters.  One daughter has a young daughter, as well.  Three of the children are currently going to school, while the oldest daughter has a job.

Saturday afternoon, we will welcome a 26-year old refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  He fled to Burundi in 2003 to escape the war.  He first arrived in Pennsylvania one year ago, but did not like the cold weather there, so he moved to Phoenix in January of this year.  He is currently working at a food packing company, has bought a car, and is hoping to buy a house in a few years.  His hope is that his wife and 3 children (7, 4 & 2 years old) who are still living in a refugee camp in Burundi can come join him in the US soon.

We will also welcome a 28-year-old mother from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the afternoon. She has 1 year-old twin daughters.  The mother left the Congo in 2006 by herself fleeing war and landed in Nairobi, Kenya.  She came to the US in 2016.  Her daughters were born here in the US but their father is living in Rwanda.  She has been working in food production for about a year.

We will also see a family from Central Africa, including the father, mother and son. Before coming to America, they knew each other in Central Africa, but came separately, the father settling in Colorado with his family, and the mother in Arizona.  They connected in Arizona and now have a 1 year-old son, and are expecting another son in February.  The father is a caregiver working mostly nights, but would like to go to school to become a nurse when possible.

Family Bios: November 2, 2019

On Saturday afternoon, we will meet a young woman from Afghanistan. She fled her homeland, a country that has endured ongoing violence for generations, for Pakistan when she was 7 years old. She left with her family including her mother, father and two brothers. In Pakistan, she was able to take English classes and also learned another five languages, including Dari and Farsi.  In 2016, after both of her parents had died, she and her brothers moved again to Turkey. She worked in restaurants, cleaning hotels and doing seamstress work as she awaited asylum. She arrived in the US in August of this year but both of her brothers have been resettled in Switzerland.  She is currently looking for a job and hopes to be able to also go back to school to study fashion and marketing.  She is enjoying Phoenix and has already made some friends here.

We will also meet a family from Liberia. The father fled the civil war in Liberia with his family in 1996. He said his family had been persecuted; his parents were killed and he himself was shot two times during ongoing conflicts. Because it was unsafe to flee in large groups, he and his siblings split up on their journeys to safety.  He went to the Ivory Coast, his sister went to Guinea and his brother went to Senegal. He has not been in touch with his siblings and doesn’t know if they are safe.  His daughter was born in the Ivory Coast, where she was able to attend school. She was taught in French, the primary language of Ivory Coast/Cote d’Ivoire, but his daughter was also able to learn some English. He was an elementary school teacher in Ivory Coast and also helped with repatriation classes at the UNHRC camp.  The family arrived in Phoenix in July 2019. The daughter is enrolled in school and really enjoys it; she is already making friends and improving her English. The father is currently looking for work. He has a friend here, another refugee who arrived two years ago, who is a support. The father says that Phoenix is beautiful and hot, and that it is a very kind place.

Family Bios: October 26, 2019

We will visit a family whooriginates from Burma. The family fled together to Malaysia to escape violent conditions in their hometown. When living in Malaysia, the family moved into a house and the father and sons supported the family working in construction. After facing dangerous conditions in Malaysia, they fled to America and have been here since June. Since arriving in America, the two oldest sons have enrolled in high school and are very happy to be receiving an education and learning English. The mother is staying at home with the two youngest sons who are still too young to go to school. The father is currently looking for work and is excited for the opportunity to work in America. The family said that they feel a sense of freedom in the US and are very hopeful for the future.

We will also welcome amother and her four children who originate from the DRC. The mother met her husband in the Congo and they gave birth to their first child there. Six months before fleeing, her husband passed away, leaving her to flee to Burundi on her own with her young child. The mother arrived in Burundi in 2008 and stayed in a refugee camp there for 11 years where she had her other three children. She arrived in America in late June and is very excited to have secured a job in food production. The three oldest children are in school while her youngest child stays at home. The mother’s sister in law also lives in the area, so she has someone to help her out. The family is so happy to be in America and to be safe.

Our third family also originates in the DRC. Six months before fleeing, the mother and father were married. The couple fled together in 1997 to live in a refugee camp in Rwanda. They had 5 children in Rwanda who are now aged 10 – 20 years old. While in the camp, the oldest daughter graduated from secondary school and learned fundamental English skills which she is very thankful for now that she lives in America. The youngest four children are enrolled in school, but the oldest daughter was turned away from high school because she is over the age limit. She is hopeful to obtain her GED and one day attend college. The father is hoping to start work soon and integrate into American culture. The family said that life in America is a lot better than life in the refugee camp. They now all have enough to eat and drink and are hopeful for the future.

Family Bios: October 19, 2019 (morning)

On Saturday morning, we will meet a family of seven from Burundi, who arrived in the US in April 2015.  The family includes the father, mother and five children, including three sons and two daughters.  The family spent 13 years in a refugee camp, where the father worked as a cook in the camp and the mother provide delivery services.  The children all attended school while in the camp. The father is currently working at Sky Harbor and the mother is working in a laundry. The family is glad to be in the US safe and the children can receive a quality education.  They are looking forward to buying a home too.

We will also meet a family of five from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The family spent 16 years in a refugee camp in Burundi.  The husband and wife met in the camp and were married.  The father was a driver in the camp and all the children were born in the camp. The family has a son (age 9 years) and two daughters (ages 7 and 5 years). The father is currently working at Sky Harbor.  The mother is expecting another child in three months.  The family says everything is good in America and the family is glad to be safe and the children can receive a good education.

And we will meet a young man who fled Cameroon to Algeria due to persecution. He lived for many years in Algeria before finding safety here in the United States.

Family Bios: October 12, 2019

This weekend, we will visit a young mother from Honduras. Six years ago, she trekked from Honduras, through Guatemala, to Mexico, where she spent a month waiting to be admitted into the US. She has built a new life in Phoenix, getting married, having a son (5 years old) and is now pregnant with another baby due in February. She is also mom to an older daughter (16 years old) and an older son (12 years old). While she is shy about speaking English, she understands very well. She is grateful to WTAP for supporting her as she anticipates the arrival of her new baby and continues to make a home in Phoenix.

We will also visit a family of four from Mexico who arrived in the US in March. The mother and father have two daughters (4 and 10 years old).  They arrived on a visa and are now applying for permanent status as they cannot return to Mexico. They do not have other family in the US, but they already have many friends. The older daughter is in school. She goes to the library to check out books for herself and for her sister, so they can both learn English. The mother said when they arrived, they had nothing. She made a make-shift sofa out of packing boxes, a small blanket and some pillows and her kitchen table is borrowed from a  friend. She is grateful for the support of WTAP and the assistance in helping her make her house a home.

Family Bios: October 5, 2019

This Saturday morning, we will meet three families from the Congo and learn more about their families and their journeys.

In the afternoon, we will meet a young mother and her 11-year old daughter. The mother is originally from Eritrea. She fled Eritrea with her family when she was a girl and tried to resettle in Sudan. When war broke out in Sudan, the family was forced to flee again. The mother was 13 years old and the time they arrive in Kenya. In Kenya, the mother was able to attend school and learn some English. She also had her daughter while in camp in Kenya.  The family has been here for about 2 months. Mom is still looking for a job. The daughter is enrolled in school and really enjoying it. Her English is coming along well. Mom’s sister and her children also live in Phoenix. Mom’s other sister and mother have returned to Sudan to try to be repatriated. Mom said she is happy to be in Phoenix with her daughter and is very grateful to WTAP.

We will also meet a couple from Senegal. The young men met each other as little boys and then grew up and fell in love. Their families did not accept their relationship; once their relationship was discovered, both young men faced violence and abandonment from their families. One of the men had a friend who helped him escape to Morocco. As soon as he could, he helped his partner escape through Mauritania to Morocco. The couple waited 5 years in Morocco before being granted asylum.  Both young men are currently working. They have dreams of one day getting back to being businessmen. For now, they are happy to be here, are making friends with their neighbors and are grateful for the support of WTAP.

Another family we will meet is from Afghanistan. The couple arrived in July and has a new baby. The father was a translator for the coalition forces, specifically the US Marines and Army. Before that work, he was an English teacher and a headmaster. Mother was trying to enroll in the university when the family was told they had to leave right away as the father was under constant threats for having worked with the coalition forces.  The father is looking for work now. He has a friend in Phoenix who has been helping the family. The mother is a bit lonely and this quick transition after having the baby, and being here without family, has been hard. But she is happy that her husband is safe. The father said the best thing about Phoenix is that he feels free, for the first time in a long time. He is looking forward to building a future for his family here.

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