We will visit 2 families from the Democratic Republic of Congo, whose children go to school at the Valencia Newcomer School , a WTAP partner organization. The first family includes a man, his four children and his mother. His wife died in refugee camp. The family arrived to Phoenix just a few months ago after spending most of their life in a Tanzania refugee camp. The man fled DRC with his family as a young child. He met his wife and began a family in camp. All of his children were born in camp. After 20 years, he and his mother have their first real home. The children are adjusting well to school. The man is employed in food processing.
The other family includes a husband, wife and their six children. All of the children were born into refugee camp. The husband and wife fled the dangers of war in DRC almost 20 years ago. The met and married in camp and began to raise a family. We will learn more about this family when we meet them on Saturday.
We will also visit a family from Afghanistan. The father worked with the US Armed Forces for 7 years. When his family began to receive threats and he was unable to secure a Special Immigration Visa from the USA, he fled with his pregnant wife and their toddler. They stayed in Pakistan for 4 years awaiting a grant of asylum. Their journey to Phoenix has been very difficult. The father says he hopes people know how hard it is to run away from home, to leave behind your family and friends, to give up all control over your life, your family, your future, just so you can be safe. He described the many, many interviews the family endured in the asylum process. In 2017, this family was accepted for resettlement in the USA. But his wife had just discovered she was pregnant and they were told they could not leave until the baby underwent a medical exam. Their anxiety was compounded as a new administration took office in the US and changed the criteria for accepting refugees. They had to wait 12 more months before finally coming to the States. Initially, the family was settled in Detroit. Unfortunately, their apartment was infested with bugs and they did not feel secure in their neighborhood. After a couple of months, they were transferred to Phoenix. Since all of their resettlement funds had been used up in Detroit, the family arrived with next to nothing. So far, they really like Phoenix. Their caseworker, a former WTAP client, is also from Afghanistan and has been helping them settle in their new apartment. They were very happy for the WTAP initial visit and are looking forward to meeting the welcome volunteers!