Democratic Republic of the Congo
Clearwater, FL, United States
My education in Political Science/ Criminal Justice, experience with refugee youth, as well as my personal experiences of being a refugee make me a perfect fit for HumanRefuge(e). I work at Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services as the Refugee Resettlement Specialist and Case Manager. I experienced what being a refugee or being left behind means and the painful life that many orphan refugees face. I have the passion and determination to learn quickly and to help this organization in its mission to help others. My own story helps to illustrate my reasons for recently starting my organization, “Everyday Hope” which aims to assist orphan refugee children.
I am a refugee from DR Congo in Africa. I have been living in the United States since 2011. I was an asylum seeker until living as a refugee in Uganda for three years when I was then resettled to the U.S. and provided with foster parents and education. I lost my parents when I was 14 years old to rebels who targeted my father because he was a government soldier and they wanted confidential government documents from him. I watched rebels torture and murder him before they killed my family one by one each day. Because of some government documents, I lost my parents, 3 sisters, and 5 brothers. I survived with my younger brother. After that, my brother and I left our hometown with only the clothes on our backs and no idea where we were. After a few weeks of walking in the jungle, we found ourselves in Uganda.
Once we were in Uganda, I was sick, hungry, and hopeless for the future. I didn’t know where to start, or where to go for help. I didn’t even know what being a refugee meant. I had no family and no friends. I was in a new country which used a different language. At that time, I could only hope to find safety. At this point, I did not know UNHCR existed, nor did I know how to access the protection they provide. There was nobody there to guide me through the process. I was homeless in the city since I didn’t know anything about the refugee camps. I pushed myself and was able to complete the process myself but it was hard and there were many challenges. At that time, I needed food, shelter and safety, as well as education, hope, affection, and counselling services, but I did not receive any of them. I wanted to be treated as other children were being treated but I didn’t get any of this. Eventually, through the help of a NGO named HIAS and RLP, I was lucky to access UNHCR protection. After 3 years, UNHCR protection helped me with third country with resettlement to the US. The unaccompanied minor program of USCCB helped me in Florida to get foster parents and to pay for my education.
I still ask myself: What about those who are not as strong as I was to get up and fight for themselves? What happens to those who are sick, hungry, and hopeless-- especially those who do not know how to access the process as I had experienced?
I was lucky to get resettlement, but I do not think life should be based on luck.
[Link to video: Tedx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZOW82BzKeQ]