120 Stories: Day 96
“I left Somalia in 1992 due to the war and it took me 5 years to make it to Djibouti. I started working in the city, while working there I met my wife and we got married. In 2003 we were told we had to leave Djibouti because we did not have any documents. We had to register ourselves at the camp. While living at the camp it was set on fire and we had to leave. While the camp was disoriented, they took us to a prison in the Ethiopian border where the living conditions were unbearable. We did not have enough to eat and we lived outside in the rain with our 2 and 3 year old daughters. In 2006 we were taken to live in a bigger refugee camp than the one before and in 2012 we were told to come in for our interview; we did all the background check with IOM and health screening. Even though we were living in that camp for 8 years, I think for us it was a lot easier process than some of the other people who were still waiting for their turn. 2014 we came to Atlanta not knowing anything or anyone. Catholic Charities staff helped us with a lot; from picking us up from the airport to helping us with housing, getting my daughters into school to helping my wife in finding a job. I could not see anything for many years; I would fall every time I walked because I could not see if the floor was the same level or not. Catholic Charities helped me get to doctor appointments and I finally had surgery on both of my eyes. When I was ready they helped me with finding a job. My case worker also helped me a lot with teaching me how to do things on our own like paying our bills. My wife and I are still working and my daughters are both in 10th grade now. Now we are paying our taxes and helping others. We recently bought a car and now I am driving. My family and I are grateful for all of Catholic Charities staff.”
About 120 Stories in 120 Days
The executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Born Terrorist Entry into the United States” halts the national refugee resettlement program for 120 days and dramatically reduces the ceiling for refugee arrivals from 110,000 to 50,000. In response to this executive order, Catholic Charities Atlanta created the 120 Stories in 120 Days Project in order to tell the stories of those individuals who have fled their home due to violence or persecution.
This project will tell 120 stories of clients, staff, volunteers, and community members involved with our resettlement program. Our hope is that these stories will humanize the refugee crisis, highlight the successes and the contributions that refugees make to their local communities, and help readers understand that our similarities far outweigh our differences.
In his address to Congress in September 2015, Pope Francis reminded us all to “treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves…The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.” Catholic Charities Atlanta remains in solidarity with those we serve.
If you would like to donate to help Catholic Charities Atlanta continue our important work supporting refugees and immigrants, please click here: https://give.catholiccharitiesatlanta.org/supporting-refugees-and-immigrants.
If you have a story to share, please contact Kimberly Longshore at KLongshore@catholiccharitiesatlanta.org