Meet Afisa

Meggean Ward

Afisa lived on a Tanzanian refugee camp with her husband and children for 6 years. Wanting to improve their living conditions, they moved to Mozambique with the help of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission of Refugees), which gave them food rations for a short time. While there they worked with the local residents to cultivate rented land, which fed their family and enabled them to sell the extra. Eventually they started their own small shop. Afisa is most proud to mention that her children never went hungry and never had to steal to eat, and that she made sure...

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Meet Aamina

Meggean Ward

When Aamina first saw pictures of Rhode Island—her new home to be—they were tourist shots taken in the summer. Imagine her surprise when, just one a year ago this month, she arrived in cold air and barren trees. She laughed and told us how happy she was to discover that our state does indeed turn warm and green. Aamina trained as a nurse in Mogadishu but then fled Somalia to Thailand in 2013 where she took care of herself by cleaning houses and offices and learning how to sew. Aamina knows that she may never, as she puts it, “do...

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Meet Sifa

Meggean Ward

Sifa is a patient woman. She inquired about our training in January but did not start until June. Her only complaint so far is that it won’t continue as the full time job she’s seeking. “A good job with a decent wage will mean having money to plan for better things in life.” She grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo where she married and had 3 children. Her husband had a good job inspecting slaughtered animals before sale, but then he fell through a roof and injured his back. In 2005, when her family found safety in Uganda,...

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Meet Solaire

Meggean Ward

Solaire, like many of our trainees this year, is from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She’s also the daughter of our recent graduate, Sifa. Her family, along with their entire village, fled a devastating war in the DRC with help of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees). Solaire was 6 years old when she began the rest of her childhood in a refugee camp in Uganda. Her memories of the camp included working at a small store selling clothes and always contributing to the family. Solaire is now 18 and a junior at the local high school. It...

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Meet Solange

Meggean Ward

Originally from the Congo, Solange lived in Uganda before being resettled in Arizona.  She moved to Providence in July of 2016 with her seven kids and husband. It’s clear meeting Solange that she is an effusive ball of energy and positivity. She is determined to work hard to support her family. She recounted her experiences farming in Uganda and her completion of a childcare certification program in Arizona.  Solange has been pleasantly surprised by the support her family received in Providence.. A month into her experience in the kitchen, Solange overcame her initial fears after hearing her co-workers applaud her...

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Meet Amina

Meggean Ward

Amina (right), who started training in January, arrived with her family in Providence in May of 2016 via the Yemeni refugee camp where she grew up. She was recommended to our program to overcome shyness which employers can interpret as low confidence. She has enough schooling to read and write Arabic, and speaks Somali and some English (at barely audible levels). Perhaps because she’s the oldest of 5, she welcomes responsibilities and from the start was a pro at making granola bars.   Amina told me (via interpreter) that she wants to be a doctor for children, or work with...

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