Tegene Feyissa

Tegene Feyissa

State: Massachusetts

City of Residence: Melrose, Massachusetts

Country of origin: Ethiopia

Arrival in the U.S.: 2009

Mr. Tegene Feyissa fled Ethiopia in 2009 and was granted asylum in the United States. He lives in Melrose, Massachusetts, where he was reunited with his two sons and wife. He now and works as a TV journalist and sign language TV producer and presenter. In Ethiopia he was a strong advocate for the disabled, and produced Ethiopia’s first television show conducted in sign language. He spent much of his youth volunteering for …

Read More »

Som Nath Subedi

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 …

Read More »

Colorado: Shambel Zeru

Colorado: Shambel Zeru

State: Colorado

City of Residence: Aurora, Colorado

Country of origin: Eritrea

Arrival in the U.S.: 2013

Mr. Shambel Zeru fled violence in Eritrea and was resettled to Aurora, Colorado in 2013. He is currently a high school student, and says that one day he would like to go back to Africa to improve the lives of people in refugee camps. He enjoys talking to other youth about their experiences, and coaching them to have confidence and believe in themselves. Mr. Zeru has previously been to D.C. to participate in …

Read More »

Shabnam Baidariwal

State: New Jersey

City of Residence: Elizabeth, New Jersey

Country of origin: Afghanistan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2011

Ms. Shabnam Baidariwal was advised by the U.S. Department of State to leave Afghanistan in 2011 after the Taliban attacked branches of her organization and threatened her and her husband’s lives. They now live in Elizabeth, New Jersey where Ms. Baidariwal works as a Grant Coordinator at Rutgers Business School. Since her arrival in the US, Ms. Baidariwal has completed a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Non-Profit Management at Rutgers …

Read More »

Rhode Island: Omar Bah

Rhode Island: Omar Bah

State: Rhode Island

City of Residence: Providence, Rhode Island

Country of origin: Gambia

Arrival in the U.S.: 2007

Mr. Omah Bah is a journalist from the Gambia who resettled in the United States as a refugee in 2007. Mr. Bah was arrested several times and tortured by the dictatorial regime of the Gambia as a result of his reporting, and he eventually fled to avoid further persecution. He was able to reunite with his wife, and the two now live in Providence, Rhode Island with their two sons. Mr. …

Read More »

North Dakota: Kalisa Ndikumwimana

State: North Dakota

City of Residence: Fargo, North Dakota

Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Arrival in the U.S.: 2011

Mr. Kalisa Ndikumwimana is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo who was resettled in Fargo, North Dakota in 2011. He currently lives and works in Fargo as a pharmacy technician and a school translator at Davies South High School. He also works with the Unaccompanied Minor Program with Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, an organization that he says has greatly impacted him by …

Read More »

Wisconsin: Natasa Torbica

Wisconsin: Natasa Torbica

State: Wisconsin

City of Residence: Hales Corners, Wisconsin

Country of origin: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Arrival in the U.S.: 1998

Ms. Natasa Torbica was resettled to Wisconsin with her husband and children in 1998 after being forced to flee Yugoslavia in the early 1990’s due to the ongoing conflict. She had to send her children to safety in Serbia first, and was later reunited with them in Belgrade. While her family struggled to find work in Serbia, Ms. Torbica notes that she felt fortunate that she and her husband were …

Read More »

New Mexico: Martin Ndayisenga

New Mexico: Martin Ndayisenga

State: New Mexico

City of Residence: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Country of origin: Burundi

Arrival in the U.S.: 2007

Mr. Martin Ndayisenga is a Burundian refugee who was resettled to New Mexico with his wife in 2007. He was just ten years old when he was separated from his parents and was forced to flee to neighboring Tanzania to escape escalating ethnic conflict in 1995. He spent 12 years living in a refugee camp, where he completed his high school studies and met his wife. He now lives in Albuquerque …

Read More »

Delaware: Lourena Gboeah

Delaware: Lourena Gboeah

State: Delaware

City of Residence: New Castle, Delaware

Country of origin: Liberia

Arrival in the U.S.: 1992

Ms. Lourena Gboeah was resettled to the United States in 1992 when she was only four years old after her family fled the war in Liberia and the continuous harassment from government soldiers. Ms. Gboeah received her B.S. in Management from Rutgers University and her Masters of Social Work from Temple University in Philadelphia. She now lives in New Castle, Delaware, where she works as a Care Manager Supervisor at Senior Community …

Read More »

Nebraska: Karna Gurung

Nebraska: Karna Gurung

State: Nebraska

City of Residence: Omaha, Nebraska

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2009

Mr. Karna Gurung is a refugee from Bhutan who was resettled to the United States in 2009. His family fled Bhutan after the government seized their home and farmland, and tortured his father. He spent nearly 20 years living in a refugee camp where unfortunately his sister and parents still live. Mr. Gurung currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska where he works as Chief-Financial Officer at United Family Home Health Care. He continues to …

Read More »

Michigan: Jihan Daman

Michigan: Jihan Daman

State: Michigan

City of Residence: Livonia, Michigan

Country of origin: Iraq

Arrival in the U.S.: 1985

Ms. Jihan Daman was resettled to the United States from Iraq with her family in 1985, and she currently lives in Livonia, Michigan. Ms. Daman is the founder and president of two social services agencies in Michigan: St. Rita Family Services Inc. and St. Rita Hands of Hope. Her agencies administer a variety of programs for new refugees, including a state program specifically for pregnant mothers – the Maternal Infant Health Program – …

Read More »

Jagat Acharya

Jagat Acharya

State: Missouri

City of Residence: St. Louis, Missouri

Country of origin: Bhutan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2010

Mr. Jagat Acharya is a recently-resettled refugee who was forced to flee Bhutan when his family was targeted by the Bhutanese police. Mr. Acharya came to the United States in 2010 and currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where he is a program coordinator at Bilingual International Assistant Services. Mr. Acharya earned a Master’s Degree in social work from Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work in St. Louis. He …

Read More »

New York: George Tarr

New York: George Tarr

State: New York

City of Residence: Staten Island, New York

Country of origin: Liberia

Arrival in the U.S.: 1999

Mr. George Tarr and his family were forced to flee Liberia in 1998 during the brutal civil war where they were at risk of being targeted because of his grandfather’s work as a government official. In 1999 he was resettled to Staten Island, New York, where he currently lives and attends college. Mr. Tarr is passionate about working to assist other people who are facing overwhelming challenges. He has been …

Read More »

Virginia: Farjam Behnam

Virginia: Farjam Behnam

State: Virginia

City of Residence: Springfield, Virginia

Country of origin: Iran

Arrival in the U.S.: 2008

Mr. Farjam Behnam was granted asylum in the United States after fleeing Iran in 2008. In Iran Mr. Behnam managed a news website and wrote political bulletins that were widely distributed to embassies, universities, and companies in Iran. The government considered these political reports to be controversial, and Mr. Behnam felt that he was not allowed to write freely about the Iranian government. Because of his work he was invited by Freedom House, …

Read More »

Maine: Ekhlas Ismail Ahmed

Maine: Ekhlas Ismail Ahmed

State: Maine

City of Residence: Portland, Maine

Country of origin: Sudan

Arrival in the U.S.: 2005

Ms. Ekhlas Ahmed was forced to flee the outbreak of civil war in Sudan with her mother, father, and three younger brothers in 2003. Her family was resettled to Portland, Maine, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations and Sociology from the University of Southern Maine, and currently works for AmeriCorps as a high school ELL teacher. Ms. Ahmed is the vice president and co-founder of Darfur Youth of Tomorrow, an …

Read More »