We will visit a family that includes a 35 year old mother from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, her four sons, ages 17, 16, 9, and 5, and her daughter age 14. She fled the DRC with her family in 1996 after a group of rebels threatened to kill them. They found relative safety in Rwanda where she was in a refugee camp for 20 years. While in camp, she met and married her husband, who is now deceased. Her five children were all born in the camp and have never been to DRC. Life was very difficult for this single mother in camp. It was hard to get sufficient food in the camp so she sold tomatoes at a local market to supplement the family’s meager food supply. Her children were able to attend school in the camp but there was no feeding program for them through the school. Her children would often return home from school hungry, and she had little to offer them. Her family was finally able to relocate to the United States and they arrived in May 2017 to Arizona. The children are all enrolled in school and much enjoy learning. Their mother is working at Papa John’s and describes her life as good, and says that the future looks bright for her family.
We will also visit a family from Rwanda, a husband, age 68 and a wife, age 58. They fled Rwanda in 1998 because of the war in their country and they settled in a refugee camp in Zambia. They remained there until relocating to Florida in September 2016. They moved to Arizona recently. The wife has a chronic medical condition was sick during the time they were in the camp. They were very pleased that they WTAP will assist in furnishing their apartment as they could bring only a limited number of possessions with them when they moved. The coupe are grateful for the help that they are receiving in Arizona.
We will visit a family from Syria, a mother, father and four children (ages 16, 14, 11 and 1). The family fled Syria when they were threatened and their house was burned down because the father effused to fight for the army. Originally, the father fled to Qatar and the mother and children went to Jordan. The father eventually reunited with the family in Jordan. They were in exile 4 years before being granted asylum here in Phoenix. They arrived in Phoenix in August 2016. The family said that in the beginning the transition was difficult. Now, the older children all speak English and are doing well in school. They recently had a set back when the father was burned in a kitchen fire and their apartment got bed bugs. They are so appreciative of the help from WTAP as they face these new challenges. They have friends in their complex who are also a great support to them.
We will also visit another family from Syria. The mom and dad fled the war in 2013 and were in Jordan for 3 years before being granted asylum. They were resettled in Phoenix and were here for 9 months before going to Rhode Island. That move did not work (they said their children missed Phoenix) so they are back in Phoenix, having arrived a week ago. The older children are in school and doing very well. They all speak English. The mother is looking forward to starting a mother-child English class with her youngest. The father has applied for a job and is hoping for some good news soon. The family could not bring their furniture back to Phoenix with them, so they are very grateful for support of the Welcome to America Project. They have neighbors who have generously lent them some things, but they are looking forward to getting belongings of their own to settle in and truly call Phoenix their home.