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April 15, 2018:: An Update from Our Refugee Partnership

by Steve Merrill and Embry Howell

Six months ago, the Habibullah family arrived from Afghanistan as part of a special visa program for people who assisted the US military there.  The three-parish refugee sponsorship partnership between All Souls, St. John's Georgetown, and Christ Church Georgetown began helping them settle into their new life right away.

Their 5-year-old daughter, Uranus, is in school and her English has made great strides.  Little sister Arshida, 3, will start learning English in preschool in the fall. Any day now, they will get a baby brother! Mother Shahida has also been studying English, and now greets everyone in her new language.

While the family has received some transitional financial support, establishing financial independence is father Habib’s top priority. He has a bachelor's in civil engineering and a master's in structural engineering, and is studying for the Field Examiner test. In the meantime, he is working part time with a construction company. 

All Souls parishioners have also been helping another refugee family, the Haydaris, on a more informal basis since last summer. The father, Khojat, has found full-time work as a welder, and the family has moved into a more spacious apartment (which our 20s and 30s group helped to furnish). Thanks to overtime pay, his salary disqualifies them from receiving benefits for food, so the ingredients donated by parishioners continue to be helpful. Their two children are in school and doing well and mother Maryam has also been taking community college English classes.

Thanks to contributions from members of the three parishes, each family now has a car of their own for getting to work and taking care of all kinds of everyday tasks.

Besides continuing to donate money and/or food to help these families get by until they are on better financial footing, we have two specific requests at this time. First, you can help equip Baby Habibullah’s nursery by purchasing the remaining items from the wish list at http://a.co/eTBJn7N. Second, if you have any contacts in the building industry, please inquire about any job leads for Habib, who will soon be a qualified field examiner.

So many parishioners have been generous with time and treasure by donating or purchasing furniture and vehicles, providing rides, tutoring English and more. On behalf of the Habibullahs and Haydaris, and our partner parishes, thank you all.

Last Published: April 12, 2018 2:00 PM
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