Our first family is from Somalia, consisting of a father, mother, their two adult sons, preteen daughter, and preteen son. They arrived in America 3 months ago. The family originally fled to Kenya when the two eldest children were very young and stayed in Dadaab Camp, the world’s largest refugee camp. They later went to Ethiopia and then Djibouti, where the two youngest children were born. The father is disabled due to an injury from stepping on a land mine in Somalia and was unable to work. The mother and two eldest sons opened their own shop in Ethiopia and Djibouti selling clothing. The eldest son also worked part time for IRC, and was able to learn English through his coworkers and later became an interpreter. Now that they are in America, he is working at a hotel and dreams of attending college to study computer science. The second eldest son is looking for work, and dreams of attending college to study engineering. The mother plans to stay at home and care for her husband and the younger children. The younger children were recently enrolled in school and are very excited. The youngest son dreams of being a soccer star and the youngest daughter dreams of attending college.
Our second family is also from Somalia, consisting of a brother and sister and the sister’s preteen son. They fled Somalia with their parents when the brother was 6 and the sister was 17. They lived in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. They owned a general store in the camp and were able to finish High School through the UNICEF school at the camp. The sister gave birth to her son in the camp. They arrived to America 6 months ago. The brother is currently working as a cook and is excited to be in America where he is able to live free, learn, work, and help his family. The sister is also working and is thankful for the opportunities that are now available for her son’s future. The son is enrolled in school and enjoying it. He dreams of becoming a doctor or engineer.
Our third family is originally from Rwanda, consisting of a mother, her four adult children, and two minor grandchildren. The mother and 2 of her children fled Rwanda 20 years ago during the Rwandan genocide and lived in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where her other 2 children and one of the grandchildren were born in a refugee camp. They were then forced to flee again from DRC when a war began there as well. They briefly went to Uganda, but the situation in Uganda at the time was also unstable, so they returned to Rwanda briefly where the youngest grandchild was born. They felt unwelcome in Rwanda, despite it being their original home, so they worked briefly and gathered the money and supplies needed to make their way to a refugee camp in Kenya. They arrived in America 2 months ago and are very grateful to be here. When asked what their favorite things about America are they responded with everything! They particularly enjoy America’s safety and the respect Americans have for other people. The eldest grandchild is enrolled in school and wants to study art in college. One of the daughters dreams of becoming a doctor, and the son dreams of owning a construction company and also building his own house for the family to live in.