Texas: Alexis Niyonkuru

Texas: Alexis Niyonkuru

State: Texas

City of Residence: Houston, Texas

Country of origin: Burundi

Arrival in the U.S.: 2007

Mr. Alexis Niyonkuru is a refugee from Burundi who was resettled to Houston, Texas in 2007. Shortly after his arrival to the U.S., Mr. Niyonkuru decided to join the Gary Job Corps Center, and within a couple years he received his High School Diploma, PCA Certificate, and a Certification in Transportation and Business Communications International Union. Because of the difficult situation he faced as a refugee, Mr. Niyonkuru and his friends decided to …

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South Carolina: Amadeo Geere

State: South Carolina

City of Residence: West Columbia, South Carolina

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Amadeo Geere was only two years old when his family was forced to flee Bhutan like the thousands of other Lhotshampas who became victim to the “One Nation One Ethnic” Policy implemented by the Royal Government of Bhutan. He would spend the next 19 years of his life in a refugee camp in Nepal before being resettled to the United States. He now lives with his family in West …

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Nebraska: Nay Blay

Nebraska: Nay Blay

State: Nebraska

City of Residence: Omaha, Nebraska

Country of origin: Myanmar

Arrival in the U.S.: 2009

Mr. Nay Blay is a Burmese refugee who was resettled from Myanmar to the United States in 2009. He currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife, where he works as a case manager helping refugees become established. Prior to moving to Nebraska, Mr. Blay lived in Clarksville, Arkansas, where advocated for increasing resettlement in the area, and still maintains strong relationships with local leadership. Before he moved to Clarksville, the town did …

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Alaska: Hayat Khalaf

State: Alaska

City of Residence: Anchorage, Alaska

Country of origin: Iraq

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Ms. Hayat Khalaf is a refugee from Iraq who was resettled to Anchorage, Alaska in 2008. Ms. Khalaf is a true asset to the refugee community of Alaska, and is sought out regularly by not only the local resettlement agency staff, but by members of the refugee community for her leadership and conflict resolution skills. Mrs. Khalaf began officially supporting refugees arriving to Alaska from 2011-2012 when she served as an AmeriCorps volunteer …

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Kentucky: Mukhtar Ahmed

State: Kentucky

City of Residence: Louisville, Kentucky

Country of origin: Somalia

Arrival in the U.S.: 2009

Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed is a Somali refugee who was reunited with his family in Louisville, Kentucky in 2009. After being displaced many times and becoming separated from his family, Mr. Ahmed fled to Kenya with friends, where he spent four years without knowing where his family was or whether they survived. Then in early 2007, Mr. Ahmed received a phone call and heard the words: “Hello, I’m your mother. I’m calling from the …

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Florida: Basma Alawee

Florida: Basma Alawee

State: Florida

City of Residence: Atlantic Beach, Florida

Country of origin: Iraq

Arrival in the U.S.: 2010

Ms. Basma Alawee her husband were forced to flee Iraq when her family was targeted due to her husband’s employment by an American company. Ms. Alawee now lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida with her husband and two daughters. Although she was a material engineer in Iraq, Ms. Alawee struggled to get credential recognition in the United States. Instead she obtained a teaching certificate and now teaches math and science at a middle …

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Pennsylvania: Teewende Sandwidi

Pennsylvania: Teewende Sandwidi

State: Pennsylvania

City of Residence: Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Country of origin: Burkina Faso

Arrival in the U.S.: 2011

Mr. Teewende Sandwiwi is an asylee from Burkina Faso who arrived in the United States in 2011. In Burkina Faso, Mr. Sandwidi was a writer who started programs to help students learn English. Through his writings, he began speaking out against corruption in his country and against the practice of female genital mutilation, but he received threats and was persecuted by the government as a result. He was offered the opportunity to …

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Virginia: Thon Moses Chol

Virginia: Thon Moses Chol

State: Virginia

City of Residence: Alexandria, Virginia

Country of origin: Sudan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2000

Reverent Thon Moses Chol was only four years old when the war in Sudan forced him to flee his village as a “Lost Boy” and fend for himself before being resettled as an unaccompanied minor. Mr. Chol was resettled to the United States in 2000 and now lives in Alexandria, Virginia where he works as a Vocational Specialist for the Washington, D.C. government. He is also an ordained Episcopal Pastor at St. Paul’s …

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District of Columbia: Mohyeldin Mohamed

District of Columbia: Mohyeldin Mohamed

State:District of Columbia

City of Residence: Washington, D.C.

Country of origin: Sudan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2009

Mr. Mohyeldin Mohamed fled Sudan after he was imprisoned for protesting and speaking out against the Sudanese government. He was resettled to the United States in 2009 and currently lives in Washington, D.C. Mr. Mohamed recently completed a Bachelor’s Degree in political science, pre-law, Arabic, and psychology at North Dakota State University. Coming from a country where he was marginalized and treated like a second-class citizen, Mr. Mohamed says that he feels …

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Texas: Jean-Claude Mauridi

Texas: Jean-Claude Mauridi

State: Texas

City of Residence: Fort Worth, Texas

Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Arrival in the U.S.: 1999

Mr. Jean-Claude Mauridi was 16 years old when war broke out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He fled his country in order to avoid recruitment by the rebels, and spent the next ten years in a refugee camp in Zimbabwe. He currently lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife, son, and two daughters where he works as an Employment Case Manager at a refugee services …

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