Family Bios: July 9, 2016

Flag_of_Bhutan.svgThis family arrived three weeks ago from Nepal where the father, age 31, had been living since 1993 in a refugee camp after fleeing from Bhutan with his family when he was a child.  His parents left with their children because of the restrictions on their lives living under the rule of the King of Bhutan.  This husband met his 28 year old wife in the camp, where they married and now have two children, a son, age 6, and a daughter, age 4.   He has seven siblings, and all of them have resettled in the United States.  His younger brother, age 21, has lived here four years, and he and his mother were there during the interview.  Three siblings have settled in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nebraska, and the others live in the Phoenix area.  While this family lived in the refugee camp in Nepal, the father worked as a laborer to support his family.  He has a ninth grade education, and he is anxious to learn English as is his wife.  They are happy to be reunited with their extended family in America. They came here for a better life for themselves and their children.

Flag_of_Iran.svgThis family consists of a mother, age 44, and her daughter, age 20, who arrived in this country a month ago from Turkey, where they had been living for three years since fleeing Iran.  The father came here four years ago as he is of the Bahai faith and was persecuted for his faith and for marrying a Muslim woman. He had an automotive repair shop in Iran, which was closed by the government. The husband had sparse furnishings in their small one bedroom apartment.  The wife has found it “hard” in America as she had expectations that their life would be more comfortable when they came here, but since her husband is unemployed, this has been challenging for them.  The daughter has a high school diploma and worked as a beautician in Turkey, and her mother who is a seamstress was also able to work.  The mother has a sister with two children who is living in Phoenix.  The daughter is very interested in going to college, and her dream is to become a dentist.  Both mother and daughter are interested in learning English and were encouraged to attend the classes being offered for refugees presently.

Somalian FlagOur first family is from Somalia.  They include husband and wife and their five sons and two daughters.  The children range in age from 2 to 14.  The family fled their Somalian home to Kenya to avoid the dangers and conflicts in Somalia.  Some of the children were born in Kenya and have never seen Somalia. The family lived in Kenya for over five years, working hard for little money.  The father tried to support the family as a driver.  The children are very excited to be in the United States.  Their focus is education.  They want to learn in school and do good things, they say.  And the children appreciate that they can now safely go outside and play, something they could not do in Somalia or Kenya. Soccer, basketball and bicycling are their favorite new activities.  Mostly, they are happy to feel safe and full of possibilities.
Somalian FlagOur second family is also from Somalia, having arrived only 3 weeks ago.  They are a husband and wife and their two sons, ages 4 and 7,  and two daughters, ages 2 and 8.  The couple met in Kenya, both having lived there since they were teenagers.  Their families fled Somalia for safety from the fighting and the couple later met in Kenya. The father sometimes worked in a clothing marketplace in Kenya and the mother is a talented seamstress and henna artist.  They spent 17 years in refugee camps in Nairobi and Mombassa, two of the largest refugee camps in the world.   An estimated 600,000 people reside in refugee camps in Kenya, mostly from Somalia.    Their children have never been to Somalia.  The same conflict that caused the couple to flee as children has continued in Somalia for decades.  These warring factions and gangs have made life too dangerous to return.  In the United States, the family feel a sense of peace for the first time.  Their children can now learn and live in a safe environment.

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