U.S COMMITTEE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
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Happy Mother’s Day from USCRI’s Field Offices

By USCRI May 12, 2023

USCRI is honored to share the stories of five women who have overcome hardship to build lives in the U.S. for themselves and their families. Each of these women has worked with USCRI, either as a client, staff member, or both and we are so proud to be a part of their story.

DDS entrance

When Aisha (pictured here with her daughter, Shaista) came from Kabul, Afghanistan after the Taliban took over, she quickly learned how car-dependent Atlanta, Georgia is. She now lives in Gwinnett County, a suburb outside of Atlanta that has very limited public transportation. Aisha shared that “I am so thankful to be able to safely live with my only daughter Shaista and my three grandkids… I love to cook for the house, but I wish I could drive myself to the grocery store instead of waiting for a ride.”  Aisha wants to learn English and get her driver’s license, so she can be more independent, take her grandkids to the doctor if there is ever an emergency, and go to appointments with her attorney at USCRI. “I always joked when I was younger that I wanted to be a truck driver,” Aisha said. However, up until recently, there was no option to take the permit test in Dari. With the advocacy of her daughter Shaista, Aisha was able to take the permit test with a live translator in Dari and passed with flying colors. Now her next goal is to get her green card so she can continue being independent and have the peace of mind to stay in the U.S. and visit family members abroad as she pleases.

family photo

“USCRI was a big help when I first came here,” says Devi Poudel, who arrived in Erie, Pennsylvania from Bhutan in December of 2016. “The children were still small (ages 3 and 6), and it was hard.” Devi’s husband did not receive refugee status and permission to join them for nearly six more years, so she was a single parent through the resettlement process.

USCRI Erie picked us up from the airport, set up our household, and helped me to find a job at Erie Cotton,” where she still works today to provide for her family. “I had other help from USCRI with the children too.” USCRI Erie tries to resettle new families within walking distance of the field office so they can take advantage of all the services that will help them adjust to life in their new community, including an on-site pre-K childcare center with an afterschool program that serves children through 8th grade. “The children are doing very well in school and are now ages 9 and 13.”

The girls are thrilled to have their family reunited now, since their father arrived last summer, but they recognize the courage and fortitude it took for their mother to begin their journey to the United States as a solo parent. Looking at her parents, younger daughter Richal says, “Before he arrived, she took care of everything, and older daughter, Recica concurs, “She’s amazing. Amazing.”

Shila

Shila came to Albany, New York one year and five months ago from her home country of Afghanistan. A native speaker of Dari, she immediately enrolled in English classes and has attended them every week while taking care of her family, which includes two children under six years old. Several months ago, Shila was given the bad news that she was progressively losing sight in her left eye—despite this and while going through treatment, she continues to persevere and is known in her community as a wonderful mother, hard worker, and generous spirit.

mother of two beautiful children

Ernestine Tuyishime is the mother of two beautiful children. Her family arrived in Vermont from Malawi in September 2021, and during this time USCRI Vermont has helped them with all the support they needed for they resettled. Ernestine has been a refugee all her life in many different refugee camps in Africa. Before arriving in the United States, she attended college in Lilongwe, Malawi where she studied Diagnostic Radiography. In 2022, she was hired as a Medical Case Manager to provide health support to refugees, asylees, and new Americans. As a part of her work, she helps USCRI clients navigate the healthcare system and gain access to primary, specialist, and emergency care. She also helps them access preventive health resources including dental and vision care, learn how to access mental health supports, and learn about and adopt healthy habits and behaviors. As a mother and a service provider, she aspire to keep on learning and always give back.

Mary Rose Muhammad is a Case Aide and ESL teacher here at USCRI Dearborn. She is a mother of three kids, 14, 11, and 7 years old. Originally from Lebanon, Mary Rose, now a US citizen, takes great pride in her children’s ability to attend school in the United States.
Her 14-year-old earned his way into the #6 best middle school in Michigan and is set to begin high school in the fall. Her 11-year-old then earned his way into the #2 best elementary school in Michigan and is set to begin middle school in fall. Mary Rose is eager for her children to be able to express the academic excellence she always knew was in her family, but never had the ability to explore in Lebanon.


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