Thank you for your continued support of the River East Resettlement Alliance. When we last wrote to you in May, we told you about all of the hard work we had been doing in preparation for and in expectation of receiving a Refugee family. We were still patiently awaiting the arrival of a family that we could work with to settle in the apartment we had rented in Manchester. Just days after that letter was sent, we were put in touch with a Syrian family who had recently arrived in Springfield, Massachusetts.
The family was interested in moving to CT to be closer to friends that lived in South Windsor and as luck would have it, someone who knew about the family also knew we were looking for a family for our Manchester location and made the connection for us! It couldn’t have worked out better!
This is a wonderful family of five – Dad (Fadhil), Mom (Shahnaz), and 16-year-old triplet girls (Nawroz, Dilsoz, Leeloz)! They are an absolutely lovely family and they are very happy and grateful to be here and are settling in nicely.
While the family did not get assigned to us by IRIS, we are using the training and guidelines that we learned from IRIS to make the family’s transition as smooth as possible. To date, RERA has helped them move toward independence by assisting them with many things such as:
- Moving into and settling into the apartment in Manchester
- Obtaining CT benefits from the Department of Social Services (Cash benefits, SNAP, and HUSKY)
- Obtaining a non-driver State ID
- Worked with Fadhil to build a résumé, and found him a full-time job within walking distance of the apartment! The employer loves him and he is happy at his job.
- Working with Shanaz to build a resume and have considered and applied for jobs for her
- Helped them get to English classes in Hartford, as well as provided tutoring in their home.
- Set up a bank account and help them learn how to pay bills online
- Found them Primary Care Physicians and brought them to obtain physical exams
- Grocery shopping and errands
- Enrolled the girls in Manchester High School – they will be in 12th grade
Over the summer, many of us have spent time with them at their apartment or taking them places, and it has been such a pleasure for all of us getting to know them and watch them become more comfortable in their new surroundings. Shahnaz is a wonderful hostess and always makes us feel welcome. The girls love to learn and are very excited to start school. We can’t wait to see their continued success in learning English and watch them flourish.
They would like to express thanks to you, our supporters, because without your help none of this would have been possible. Let us introduce them!
Several RERA volunteers sat down with the family recently to get to know them better. Here are some of the things they shared during our conversation.
We brought our family to America primarily because of the education. We want school for our children. – Fadhil
They arrived in the U.S. in April and the girls started school in Springfield, where they attended for 10 days. However, upon moving to CT at the end of May, they were not able to enroll in school due to the required “blue form” for physical exams required by the state (Springfield did not require this). By the time they had their physicals it was the end of the school year and they would have to wait until September to begin school in CT. The girls were disappointed about the wait, but they are really excited to begin the new school year!
Even though there was no school this summer, we have been busy working on our English skills
-Leeloz, Nawroz, Dilsoz
When asked “What makes you happy here?” Leeloz replied “We can build our future here.”
We found out that the family enjoys music! Fadhil plays the Tambor expertly and also sings beautifully, and Nawroz also plays and Leeloz sings! They often sit together in the evenings and talk and play music.
Also, the girls love to shop (especially for clothes!), Shahnaz loves to cook and entertain (we can vouch for her excellent cooking!!) and Fadhil is a soccer fan – Barcelona is his team! As a family, in addition to enjoying music, they like to go out to the park, visit friends, and watch the news on TV (which helps them with English!).
What is your favorite food? They enjoy stuffed grape leaves, Sambusik, fresh fruit, kababs, fish, and they love ice cream! The family follows Halal, the Islamic dietary standard. There is a Halal market right in Manchester which they love.
Observations about America
Fadhil explained that there is a mythology about America, that the streets are paved with gold and you can do nothing and be a millionaire. They see how hard people here work, and they see all the charity work being done (for example, they live across the street from a church and have observed how much they do) and really understand the good being done here. He said Americans live in a democratic society where we have human rights for people and understand that the rights are for everybody and that we have an advantage living here over other places because of this. Americans work hard but get something in return.
The group (RERA) is amazing and wonderful and we love all the love we feel from this group and they have made us feel very comfortable here. We are very grateful and thankful to God and grateful to the group for being here for us. Thank you. – Shahnaz
We hope you have enjoyed getting to know our family!
~ Regards from the River East Resettlement Alliance