“Our life [in Syria] was very good for us; we [were] very comfortable – my husband and my two small children,” said Adelmira Farhan.*
“But the war started and we were forced to leave the country.”
In 2014, Adelmira and her husband, Amar, fled Syria with their two children.
They applied to seek refuge in the United States and spent several years waiting to complete the vetting process.
“The United States is very, very beautiful,” said Adelmira. “We came here [to find] a new life, a new good and safe life.”
And they found that new life in the hills of West Virginia, where Adelmira’s brother was already a state resident.
*Names have been changed to protect clients’ privacy.
A New Home among the Hills
Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) is the only refugee resettlement agency in West Virginia. CCWVa resettles refugees where they can thrive and become contributing members of their communities.
Each refugee or refugee family coming to West Virginia must have what is called a “U.S. Tie” residing in West Virginia. A “tie” is a family member or friend who is a West Virginia resident. Adelmira’s brother was the U.S. tie for their family.
When Adelmira, Amar and their two children arrived in West Virginia, a CCWVa Refugee Outreach Worker was waiting to welcome them at the airport.
“The following day, we had a meeting where I went over everything the family could expect for the next few months,” said the Outreach Worker. “It was a lot of information, but my most important message was that we are happy you are here in West Virginia, and you are safe here.”
CCWVa helped the family obtain important documents, apply for benefits, enroll in school, enroll in English as a Second Language classes, access health services, and more.
“And always she is positive,” said Amar, when referring to the Outreach Worker. “Always she give[s] us positive energy to feel a life here is very good and nice and safe here in this country.”
Working toward a Brighter Future
“I’m here to find a good job and live comfortably here without any help from anybody,” said Adelmira. “And I have so [many] very important [goals] for us.”
“We have two children in elementary school. We want them to study at a good university [for a] good future,” said Amar. “It is our hope, our great hope.”
In Syria, Adelmira was a pharmacist, and Amar was an architectural engineer.
CCWVa was able to assist Adelmira with transferring her pharmacological qualifications. CCWVa also assisted Adelmira and Amar in creating a resume and searching for jobs online.
“Here [in the United States], we live safely. Because in my country, it’s [a] difficult time,” said Amar, holding back tears.
By Katie Hinerman Klug, Catholic Charities West Virginia Marketing Communications Specialist