Family Bios: May 4, 2019

We will visit 3 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo this weekend. Violence in the DRC goes back to the genocide in Rwanda, a neighboring country, beginning in 1994. Millions of people are estimated to have been killed in the violence, that continues in some forms to this day. According to data for the UN, more than 2.1 million people were forced to flee their homes in 2017 alone — equivalent to an average of 50 families fleeing every hour, every day.

One family fled the DRC when the mom was about 10 years old. Her family lived in a camp in Tanzania for 19 years. During that time, she lost 2 brothers and her mother.  The mother, her father, her 2 brothers and her 5 children arrived in Phoenix in October 2016.  Sadly, just one year later, the mother’s father passed away.  All the adults have been able to find work and the children are all doing well in school. The older girls speak very good English and the youngest boy will be starting kindergarten next year.

Another family we will visit also fled the DRC but sought safety in Rwanda. The mother fled the DRC when she was about 7, leaving with her sister, who was 30, and her sister’s husband. They lived in camp in Rwanda for 20 years.  The mother arrived in Phoenix with her 4 boys in March 2019. The older children have all started school and are already learning English. The youngest stays at home with his mother.  Our client’s sister, with whom she originally fled the DRC, has been resettled in Norway. Although she is very far away, our client is able to talk to her sister by phone.

A third family we will visit is also from DRC and also fled to Tanzania. The mother fled DRC with her children in 1998. Her children grew and had families of their own before they were granted asylum. The mother, her daughter and her 2 grandchildren arrived in Phoenix in February 2019. One of her sons has also been resettled in Phoenix, while her other children remain in Tanzania.  They were exceptionally grateful for the visit and for the offer of support from WTAP.