by MiriYam Judd Shalom New Haven Intern
It’s easy to take the small things for granted. Driving to school. Going to work. Talking to your friends. Raising a family. These are things that come naturally to us; it almost seems like nobody would not be able to do them.
But not everyone has the same opportunities that we do. Refugee families escaping war torn countries don’t, and some of those families are right here, living among us as members of our own community. Since 2016, JCARR (Jewish Community Alliance for Refugee Resettlement) has helped resettle four families in search of a better and safer life.
The third family arrived in New Haven on January 26, 2017. and JCARR stepped in to make their transition to American life as seamless as possible. JCARR put them up in an apartment, paying six months’ rent until the parents were able to find jobs of their own, and managed to get their 10-year-old son with special needs a spot at ACES, his first time ever attending school. The boy’s education was the main reason they came to the U.S. The husband arrived in the states with a very limited knowledge of English, but, because he worked every day, he wasn’t able to take classes to learn. Since he didn’t know the language, getting his driver’s license was difficult, but JCARR volunteers drove him from Hamden to Trumbull every day for work. When he did get his license, JCARR provided him with a car to drive himself.
Since arriving, the family has begun paving their own path. After being pushed by community members who loved her food, the mother opened her own catering business, selling to local stores like Whitneyville Market. She became certified to serve and sell food after just one week of studying. The family’s 12-year old daughter excels in school; just this past year, she received awards in math, science, and social studies, as well as being named student of the month. She was able to further develop her love for art, a longtime passion of hers she’s only recently been able to pursue, by designing the website and business cards for her mother’s catering services.
JCARR’s generosity continues to change lives, this being just one example of the kindness and magnanimity they exhibit daily. While the family hopes that one day the war in their country ends and they can return home, they have never, not even for a second, doubted their decision to come here. “I feel safe here. My children have a future here. And it is all because of JCARR; they gave us everything.”
If you have an event that needs catering, please consider Khadija’s Sweets. You can email her at khadijasweetsetc@gmail. com, call (203) 600-1748, or visit her website: khadijasweetsetc.wixsite.com/ aleppo/contact.
JCARR is committed to helping our families become self-sufficient. To make an online donation, visit jewishnewhaven. org/refugee-resettlement/give or mail a check payable to The Jewish Federation, with JCARR in the memo line, to The Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge, 06525; Attention: Amy Holtz. We greatly appreciate your generous support.