Learn more about the personal stories of our incredible clients.
Ruth and Esther’s Story
Ruth and Esther (the names are changed) are participants of our Refugee Women’s Empowerment Program. Both women are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. They did not know each other prior to coming to the US, but once resettled by US Together in Columbus, the two became close friends. Through this project, the women learn financial literacy and soft employment skills; receive employment assistance; and are mentored by our volunteers helping them faster integrate into American life. Both women wanted to learn how to drive to their new jobs, so we went out and practiced one day. Now they both have permits and soon will get their driver’s licenses as a step closer to self-sufficiency.
Ruth is here with her husband and children and Esther is a single mother. After fleeing their home country, Ruth and her family sought safety in neighboring Rwanda. There, the family endured and survived the Mudende Massacre, which took place in their refugee camp in 1997. 200 Tutsi people were murdered and more than 300 injured that horrible day.
After Esther’s husband died of an illness in their Ugandan refugee camp, she came to the US with her three children, leaving her parents behind and living without them by her side for the first time in her life. Learning how to use toothbrushes, door knobs, and basic cleaning supplies are challenges that many rural refugees face when coming to the US. Neither woman had ever had a job outside of tending to their families’ farms, but they knew they had to support themselves and their families financially. So now they are both working.
Ganesh and his family came to the United States in August of 2011. In talking with Ganesh you can see that he is a very determined and motivated individual. He had to flee Bhutan because of political reasons and religious persecution and lived in a Refugee camp in Nepal for 19 years. When I asked Ganesh what it was like in Refugee Camp he was very open and excited to tell me all of the accomplishments and long list of work that he did in Nepal and even handed me his resume. His successes didn’t stop in Nepal, he carried over his hard work and dedication to the United States and found work within one month as a free-lance interpreter working for the 3 refugee resettlement agencies in the morning. Within 4 months of arriving he obtained a full-time factory job where he is still employed working at night. He also volunteers to help local refugees from three different agencies by helping them with reading their mail and making appointments for them.
He said he hoped more people knew who refugees are and exactly why refugees are resettled. They are here for reasons like civil war, political and religious persecution, lack of civil rights and natural distasters.
Ganesh says that his life has changed for the better since coming to America because “Now, I have access to computers with the Internet and I am able to drive my own car now.” He says that in his country he had no human rights. When I asked him of the challenges that he faced by coming to America he said that when his Grandma got sick, it was a whole different system of hospitalization, which was difficult to become accustomed to. Now Ganesh, his wife, three daughters, and grandma live together happily under one roof and are happy about their journey here in America. Ganesh also has a brother, Nar, who lives nearby with his family.