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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Thon Moses Chol

Thon Moses Chol

State: D.C.

City of Residence: Washington, D.C.

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 Washington, DC where he works as a Vocational Specialist for the Washington, D.C. government. He is also an ordained Episcopal Pastor at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in …

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Jean-Claude Mauridi

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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Hari Niroula

Hari Niroula

State: Ohio

City of Residence: Blacklick, Ohio

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Hari Niroula is a refugee from Bhutan who came to the United States in 2008. He currently lives in Blacklick, Ohio with his wife and daughter, where he works as a language interpreter and community advocate. Mr. Niroula has worked with several community organizations, assisting refugees as they take their issues to the state legislature and state refugee coordinator. He holds a Master’s Degree in Social Science, and he is most proud …

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Hadidja Nyiransekuye

Hadidja Nyiransekuye

State: Texas

City of Residence: Denton, Texas

Country of origin: Rwanda

Arrival in the U.S.: 2000

Ms. Hadidja Nyiransekuye is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. She was sponsored to come to the United States in 1998 based on her teaching experience and education background, as well as her extensive language skills, which include English, French, Swahili and Kinyarwanda. She and her four children were granted asylum in 2000. Ms. Nyiransekuye obtained her M.S.W. and her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Denver. She currently lives …

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Eugenie Mukeshimana

Eugenie Mukeshimana

State: Maryland

City of Residence: Baltimore, Maryland

Country of origin: Rwanda

Arrival in the U.S.: 2001

Ms. Eugenie Mukeshimana is a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide. After struggling with this traumatic experience for nearly eight years, she and her daughter finally left in 2001 for the United States and were granted asylum. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland and has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In 2010, Ms. Mukeshimana founded Genocide Survivors Support Network (GSSN), a New Jersey-based charitable organization that helps genocide survivors rebuild their lives. Since …

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California: Jacque Larrainzar

State: Washington

Country of origin: Mexico

Arrival in the U.S.: 1997

Ms. Jacque Larrainzar came to the United States from Mexico in 1997, and was the first Mexican lesbian to win political asylum in the United States on the basis of her sexual orientation. Ms. Larrainzar currently lives in Seattle, Washington and works as an Immigrant and Refugee Outreach Specialist for Seattle Counseling Service. She leads the LGBTQ Immigrant Refugee and Undocumented Outreach Project (IRUO), which is a research project designed to uncover the barriers faced by …

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Ghana Dulal

Ghana Dulal

State: Utah

City of Residence: Salt Lake City, Utah

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Gyanu Dulal was a 20-year-old college student when he was forced to flee Bhutan in 1991. He spent the next 18 years living and working as a teacher in a refugee camp in Nepal. In 2008, Mr. Dulal was resettled to Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and two children. He now works as a Community Resource Specialist at the Department of Workforce Services, Refugee Services Office. He is …

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Wyoming: Bertine Bahige

Wyoming: Bertine Bahige

State: Wyoming

City of Residence: Gillette, Wyoming

Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Arrival in the U.S.: 2003

Mr. Bertine Bahige fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the age of 15 when rebels raided his house and tried to forcibly recruit him. Traveling alone, he undertook a dangerous journey to a refugee camp in Mozambique. In 2003 he was selected for resettlement in the United States, and was originally placed in Maryland. In 2006 Mr. Bahige was offered a scholarship to the University of Wyoming …

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Fatuma Elmi

Fatuma Elmi

State: Minnesota

City of Residence: Columbia Heights, Minnesota

Country of origin: Somalia

Arrival in the U.S.: 1991

Ms. Fatuma Elmi fled the civil war in Somalia and came to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1991, where she was granted Temporary Protection Status. Immediately after arriving, Ms. Elmi began volunteering with Lutheran Social Services to help new refugees adjust to life in the United States. She was eventually hired and has been working there for the past 19 years. Ms. Elmi is most proud of contributing to her community by assisting more …

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Georgia: Sheriff Samsudeen Phatey

Georgia: Sheriff Samsudeen Phatey

State: Georgia

City of Residence: Acworth, Georgia

Country of origin: Gambia

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Sheriff Samsudeen Phatey came to the United States from the Gambia by himself in 2008 at the age of 18. Mr. Phatey was born into a political family in the Gambia, and at an early age he hosted a radio program where he talked about children’s rights and ethical issues, and appeared on live television to report to the government about human rights matters. The corruption, human rights violations, and lack of …

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Indiana: Myo Myint

Indiana: Myo Myint

State: Indiana

City of Residence: Fort Wayne, Indiana

Country of origin: Myanmar

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Myo Myint is a refugee who fled Myanmar after being persecuted, imprisoned, and tortured for his support of the National League for Democracy. He arrived in the United States in 2008 and now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mr Myint is a Certified ESL teacher and medical interpreter who assists Myanmarese refugees with their integration in the United States. He also helps fund, edit, and publish a bi-monthly Myanmarese magazine. He …

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New Hampshire: Tika Acharya

New Hampshire: Tika Acharya

State: New Hampshire

City of Residence: Manchester, New Hampshire

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2009

Mr. Tika Acharya and his family fled Bhutan in 1992, after seeking freedom from the oppressive regime in Bhutan. They lived as refugees in Nepal for 17 years before, he and his wife, parents, and grandmother were resettled to New Hampshire in 2009. He now lives in Manchester, New Hampshire with his wife and two sons, where he works as a small business owner. In 2010, he helped to found a …

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Tek Darnal

Tek Darnal

State: Illinois

City of Residence: Evanston, Illinois

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Tek Darnal and his family fled Bhutan in 1992 to escape persecution, and were resettled to the United States in 2008. Now he owns his own home and business in Evanston, Illinois, where he resides with his wife and two sons. Mr. Darnal is quite active in his community helping other refugees as both a resettlement aid for Catholic Charities, and as an active member of Bhutanese Community Association of Illinois (BCAI). …

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Oregon: Som Nath Subedi

Oregon: Som Nath Subedi

State: Oregon

City of Residence: Portland, Oregon

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Som Nath Subedi was one of around 100,000 victims of Bhutan’s “One Nation, One People” policy, which expelled his family from their homeland. He lived in a Nepalese refugee camp for almost two decades before being resettled to Portland, Oregon in 2008 under the US Refugee Resettlement Program. Since his arrival in the US, Mr. Subedi has worked as a refugee case manager, aiding as they become self-sufficient and integrate into Portland’s …

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