Joseph was only two years old when government soldiers stormed into his home in Ethiopia and abducted his parents at gunpoint. His grandmother fled with Joseph and his brothers to Kenya, where they slept on plastic boxes on the street and peddled scrap metal to survive. For years, Joseph feared that he and his brothers would be kidnapped and disappear like his parents. In March 2012, RefugePoint resettled Joseph and his family to the United States, where he is enrolled in school for the first time and dreams of one day becoming a pilot.
For three years, Halima hid in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains from the soldiers who killed her father and kidnapped her husband during the genocide in neighboring Darfur, Sudan. Frightened, hungry, and unable to support herself, Halima eventually fled to Kenya in search of protection. In a refugee camp, she unexpectedly reunited with her husband who had survived. Later, her family was approved for resettlement to the United States as part of a group of Darfuri refugees with no possibility of returning home.
In Darfur, Sudan, Mohyeldin was a promising college student and anti-genocide activist until, one day, government soldiers stormed his college dorm room. Hiding inside a cardboard box only a few rooms away, Mohyeldin narrowly escaped capture and near certain death. Fearing the soldiers would return, Mohyeldin fled to Kenya, leaving behind the two things most dear to him: his family and his education. In Nairobi, RefugePoint facilitated his resettlement to the United States. Today, he is finishing his undergraduate degree and hopes to one day pursue a law degree. He has also been instrumental in leading campaigns to raise awareness for Darfuri refugees.
In the chaos of an attack on his remote Congolese village, Justin was separated from his family. His last vivid memory of them was when his father ordered him to “run and not look back.” Justin fled to Nairobi, where he struggled to survive until RefugePoint found him and facilitated his resettlement to St. Louis in 2007. Justin spent seventeen years not knowing whether his parents were alive or dead. In Missouri, Justin enrolled in college and had begun working in the medical field when he received some amazing news: his parents had survived the attack. He reunited with them at his wedding in Rwanda. Justin was featured in Righteous Picture’s film The Last Survivor.
Shortly after Edith was born, the Rwandan genocide left her an orphan. An older woman, who herself was fleeing the genocide, found Edith on the forest floor and cared for her. The pair searched for safety for several years until the woman Edith called ‘grandmother’ became gravely ill and passed away. In 2008, RefugePoint learned about Edith’s situation and provided her protection until she resettled to the United States. One day before her 18th birthday, Edith’s plane landed in Michigan, where a loving foster family welcomed her. Today, Edith is a bright student pursuing a nursing degree.
A refugee’s journey to find safety can be even more dangerous and marred with loss than the initial attack that forced her from home in the first place. Muna and her husband fled Sudan with their three children; however, when they arrived in Kakuma refugee camp, only two were by their side. One child had died during their escape. In Kenya, RefugePoint identified Muna and her family for resettlement and assisted them in relocating to the United States. Now Muna’s remaining children are safe, she is enrolled in school, and her husband is working to support the family.
Fio was detained and tortured for participating in student demonstrations on her college campus in Ethiopia. Fearing further abuse, Fio fled across the border into Kenya in 2005 in search of safety. Unfortunately, she did not find refuge as a young woman living on the streets. Like many other urban refugee women, Fio was harassed and became the target of gender-based violence. In 2009, RefugePoint found Fio and placed her in protective care. Today, Fio is safe and attending college again.
In 2003, Jean was attacked in the Congo while trying to mediate a conflict between two ethnic groups. His family was forcibly separated, and Jean subsequently heard his wife and children were dead. He sought refuge in the U.S. and was later joined by his wife, who had miraculously survived. They did not know if their children were alive but began searching desperately for them through their networks. Five years after their search began, Jean and his wife found two of their children alive in an orphanage in the Congo. With RefugePoint’s help, Jean and his wife reunited with their children in an airport in Vermont.
*Some names and destinations have been changed for our clients’ safety.