Family Bios: January 27, 2017

We’ll meet a 35 year old single male from Eritrea who fled to Ethiopia in 2014 after his life was threatened by the government.  He has a younger brother who is currently in a refugee camp in Jordan.  His parents are still living in Eritrea but his father was once detained for several months by the regime.  This new arrival shared his story beginning with his being  conscripted into the Air Force in 1999 and  trained as a pilot against his wishes.  He had wanted only to serve a short period of time in the service as he hoped to go to university.  He was then forced to become a fighter pilot and was not able to leave the military for 14 years.  His oldest brother was killed by government forces, and he asked the authorities for information about his death. They responded by placing him under arrest and torturing him for six months while he was in prison. He still suffers from the injuries he received while imprisoned.  Upon his release, he was told that if he ever made any further inquiries about his brother’s death, he would be killed.  He left Eritrea and worked in the refugee camp in Ethiopia as a community organizer.  He applied for asylum while in Ethiopia.  He hopes to be able to find employment once he finishes his current medical treatment, and his dream is to complete his university studies in his new home.  He is fluent in English.


We’ll meet a family from Eritrea who consist of a 37 year old mother and her 12 year old son.  She left Eritrea in 2002 with her Ethiopian husband was exiled from Eritrea because of the war between his country and Eritrea.  They settled in Khartoum in the Sudan where her husband had some work related problems and fled to Libya without telling her.  She went to Libya where he suspected he was  but was never able to locate him.  She was exiled by the Libyan government and returned to Eritrea.  In 2007, she returned to the Sudan where she supported herself and her son by working as a waiter in the Jordanian embassy and doing household cleaning for others. She persecution in the Sudan because she was a Christian, and she was unable to go to Church and said that her son could not attend school.   She arrived in Phoenix in November of 2017 and is currently searching for employment and taking English classes. Her son speaks some English and is adjusting well to his school and his new life here.  His mother’s goals are for her to own a house and to provide for a “bright future” for her son.


We’ll also meet of a mother, age 39, her two daughters, ages 16 and 6, and her three sons, ages 19, 13, and 3.  She is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  Her first husband was in the military there but was arrested a “long time ago” and just disappeared.  She left the Congo in 2010 because of the war and settled in a refugee camp in the neighboring country which is the Republic of Congo.  She worked as a social assistant in the camp and met her second husband who was a citizen of the Republic of the Congo.  He is still in the Congo, considered a separate case,  as she had applied for asylum prior to marrying him.  The family arrived in Arizona on December of last year.  She is a seamstress by profession and hopes to work in this field in the future but now is focused on finding immediate employment.  She was concerned about her 19 year old son who she hoped would be able to complete his high school education here but found out that he could not go to a regular high school because of his age. She would like him to be able to attend night school and complete his high school education and then go to college which is his goal.  The family is studying to improve their English speaking skills so as to better their opportunities in our country.