Family Bios: October 21, 2017

We will visit a 50 year old single woman from Teheran Iran who has five sisters and one brother still living in Iran under difficult conditions. She left Iran four years ago because of the persecution she experienced as a single woman and the difficulty she had in finding employment. She has a Masters Degree in Social Science and was employed as a social worker for ten years. She spent the last several years prior to leaving Iran taking care of her mother who was disabled following a stroke. Her mother died died six years ago. This refugee had previously emigrated to Canada years ago but had returned to Iran because she missed her family. She had been married briefly then divorced. When she left Iran four years age, she was initially in Malaysia, Indonesia and then Easter Island where she stayed for six months but none of these countries allowed her to remain. She ended up in Nauru island in an Australian immigrant detention facility where she lived for four years and described the conditions there as deplorable. She arrived in the United States in September and is excited to be here noting that “I love America.” Her English is good but she wants to improve it and will begin a language class next week. Her dream is to become an American citizen. She hopes to find employment soon so that she can send money back to her sisters who are struggling to survive in Iran. She has cousins living in the United States but has not had contact with them for years.

We’ll visit a 43 year old man is from Iran who arrived here 10 days ago alone His wife and 19 year old daughter are still living in Northern Iran which was the family’s home. He fled Iran four years ago as he had problems with the government because of his religious preference. He was in several countries before settling in an Australian immigration detention facility in the island of Nauru where he lived in miserable conditions for four years before arriving in America in September. He attended a trade school in Iran and worked for 10 years as a tool and die maker before becoming a boxing coach. He does speak some English but plans to attend classes next week to improve his language skills. His focus is to get his wife and daughter here as soon as possible. His wife is a homemaker, and his daughter is a university student in Iran. He has no family in the United States but has some support from a couple of Iranian friends who are living in the same apartment complex and news to the United States.

We’ll also visit a family from Iran who consist of a husband, age 36, his wife, age 33, and their daughter, age 18 months. They arrived in Phoenix in September. The family fled their country four years ago because of religious persecution. The husband had owned a clothing shop in Iran and traveled internationally with his business. His wife is an accountant and has a university degree. Their family remains in Iran with the exception of the husband’s brother who is living in Sweden. For four years they were in an Australian immigration detention facility on Nauru island where conditions were deplorable and they were traumatized by the conditions of camp. Both husband and wife are still recovering from their experiences as refugees and said that they have not formulated any plans for the future yet. Their English skills are limited but they hope to begin language classes next week.

And we’ll visit a young Cuban woman of 19 who resettled in Arizona in April. She had been living in Brazil, where her mother, a physician, had been working under a contract between the Cuban and Brazilian governments. Here, she shares an apartment with her mother, father, and two sisters. Her initial hope is to complete her high school education. She is expecting a baby in March.