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 come to the United States to teach at West Virginia State University, and once in the United States, Mr. Sandwidi successfully applied for asylum. Now, he resides in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania with his wife and daughter where he works as a Shipping Department Manager for Chewy Engineer. Mr. Sandwidi describes his community as very warm and welcoming, helping him to raise money to build a high school in Burkina Faso. The contribution he is most proud of is raising awareness that refugees are normal people who can contribute to society, life, and the economy in the United States.
Word for U.S.: Rebirth