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Resettled and Reunited: A Refugee Journey

Roshan was 12 when the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Chaos and fear filled the streets. Twice the Taliban interrogated Roshan’s father because of his work as a cook for U.S. special forces. Knowing their lives were in danger, Roshan’s family did what thousands of other families were doing and headed to the airport, hoping to reach safety in the United States.  


In the confusion, Roshan became separated from his family. He was hit in the back of the head with a gun by a Taliban soldier but somehow made it onto one of the departing planes.  


Roshan arrived alone in Richmond. Through CCC’s foster care program for unaccompanied refugee minors, a loving foster family took him into their home.  


“He is very smart and learned English very quickly,” said his CCC case worker, Susan Musser. His foster family helped him to play on an Afghan soccer team.  


Although he was settling into his new life, Roshan missed his family in Afghanistan. For two and a half years, they remained separated.   


In January, CCC’s Refugee Resettlement team was notified that Roshan’s family was finally coming to the United States.  


Roshan was thrilled. He couldn’t wait to see his parents and nine siblings—including the new baby brother he had never met.  


“Reuniting this family was wonderful,” said Abubaker Abdelrahman, Resettlement Program Manager in Richmond. “But it has also been a huge challenge, mostly because of the lack of affordable housing. Housing costs keep rising and it’s almost impossible to keep up.”  


There are a lot of boxes to check when finding suitable homes for newly arrived refugee families. Homes must:  

  • be accessible to public transportation because refugees don’t have cars or driver’s licenses yet 

  • have property managers who are willing to work with refugees who don't have a social security number or credit history yet 

  • have space to accommodate large families  

  • be in a higher population area with employment opportunities and access to schools  


Despite the many challenges, the resettlement team found a house for the family. In fact, they secured the home with help from Roshan’s foster family.  


“It is such a joy to see the family all together,” said Abdelrahman. “They are adjusting to their new lives and just welcomed a new baby girl to their family three weeks ago. When I speak with them, I see many smiling faces.”  


teen from middle east, refugee

 

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