March 21, 2010

Iranian FlagThe first family we visited is a young couple from Iran. They arrived here in January. Their story is one of escape from abuse and threats on their lives. She was married to a body guard of the leader of the country, and was the second wife. When intelligence discovered she had an uncle in Germany who had become a Christian she was in danger. There were many other problems until she eventually escaped to Turkey where she lived for 2 years. She is now married to another Iranian who escaped under similar circumstances. They both have high school educations. She speaks English well and he speaks some English and is studying English now. He worked in the textile and clothing industry. She taught English to children. They are happy to be living away from fear.

Sri Lankan flagThe second family is a very sweet mother, father and 12 year old daughter. They arrived here in February. The father has a degree in journalism and was a top journalist in Sri Lanka. He was abducted and tortured. Many journalists have met the same fate and some have been murdered. The mother has a degree in economics. They are very happy to be here and free. The father speaks English well but with a heavy accent. The mother and daughter speak some English. The daughter loves to read and seems to be doing well with her language skills and school. They would appreciate books, newspapers, magazines and other publications and forms of communication such as a computer with Internet and telephone.

The father has quite a nice resume including working for a large newspaper as a journalist and editor. He is well educated with several diplomas in journalism, communications, electronic media, media ethics, conflict reporting and investigation journalism. He has been in leadership positions of national and international professional organizations. He has received several prestigious awards including the National Integrity award by Transparency International. He has been very active in promoting freedom of the press and thus had to flee his country. The American Embassy helped him escape with his family. They spent 2 months in Nepal and arrived in the US in February.

Iranian FlagThe third young woman we met is from Iran. Her husband was killed, her mother and father are dead and her brother lives in London. She was a hairdresser for 17 years. Her family suffered and had to leave due to their Baha’i faith. She was a hairdresser in Turkey for 2 years before being able to come here. She arrived here in November and is studying English. We did not meet her roommate, who is a young woman from Iraq.

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