Helping refugees resettle in Chicago

by RefugeeOne
Vetted
Nov 17, 2011

A Refugee's Journey

Thirty Years. Many Voices. One Vision. Your donation to RefugeeOne through GlobalGiving can help families like Abdulkarim’s (full story below) begin a new life in the U.S.  We help individuals and families who seek refuge through our organization become self-sufficient members of society as quickly as possible.  With your help, we at RefugeeOne can help refugees build new lives of safety, dignity, and self-reliance.

 

Abdulkarim’s Journey

On September 7, 2011, Abdulkarim Arabab Lazim, with his two small children by his side – Abdulmunim (7) and Selima (5) – arrived at Chicago O’Hare Airport, exhausted after a long journey from Kenya.  Their arduous journey originates in El Geneina, a village on the western edge of the Darfur region in The Sudan. 

One evening, their village was brutally attacked and Abdulkarim – with his wife, son, and some elders – were forced to flee for their lives. They ran toward Nyala; only travelling through the bush during the cover of night. It took several months to complete their journey by foot. 

After being told that Nyala was no longer safe either, the family began walking once again. This time they headed toward Kosti, a distance nearly twice as long as their first sojourn. After ten days of walking, a passing truck approached them along the road.  At first, the small, frightened group believed the truck’s occupants to be dangerous, and were prepared to run for their lives again. Fortunately though, they were told they only wanted to help them; and they drove them the rest of the way to Kosti. 

They left Kosti after a short time, when they heard that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) had established bases in Kadugli, near the Nuba Mountains. For Abdulkarim and his family, Kadugli symbolized a place for food, shelter and safety. Their daughter, Selima was born in Kadugli. In 2007, a few years after their arrival in Kadugli, an NGO worker told them that they, along with three other families, were chosen to be moved to a refugee camp in Kenya, called Kakuma. 

At the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, Abdulkarim’s wife, pregnant with their 3rd child, was diagnosed with malaria.  Although severely ill and hospitalized, she found the strength to give birth to a baby boy.  Unfortunately, soon after their second son was born, Abdulkarim’s wife passed away. For some time thereafter, Abdulkarim walked an hour’s distance to get milk to feed his baby boy.  In spite of this persistence, after five months, the baby died. Abdulkarim pleaded to be taken anywhere else.  But he was eventually convinced to remain at Kakuma. 

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) then moved him and his children to a section of the camp specifically for widowed fathers. One day a list went up inside the camp listing the names of people who were approved for resettlement in the United States. Abdulkarim and his children’s names were on the list.    

After completing the lengthy interview process, he was told that he would be going to Chicago.  Although he was afraid of being the only family out of the entire group to be resettled in Chicago, he was comforted by the knowledge that he would be going to the place of Barack Obama’s home.

Abdulkarim is beyond grateful for the opportunity he has to begin a new life all over again. He is excited to learn, and his enthusiasm serves to inspire us at RefugeeOne. Abdulkarim is committed to working hard, so he can be a role model for his children; like any good father.  He is patiently waiting for the day that he can tell his children about their lives in The Sudan and all the struggles they have been through. He hopes that they will achieve more than he can even imagine. 

###

Links:

Comments:

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

RefugeeOne

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.refugeeone.org/​
Project Leader:
Kim Snoddy
Chicago, IL United States
$49,861 raised of $80,000 goal
 
442 donations
$30,139 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money for this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page for this project.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.