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Update from Refugee Welcome Team!

Here is a recent update on the family from Elder Lara Mullarkey: “So much has happened in the 6 months since Sayed, Najila and Abbas arrived. So many of you have graciously extended yourselves, from helping to furnish their apartment, to escorting them to appointments, to tutoring them in English, to assisting in their job search. I could go on. Over two dozen members have contributed time and resources, and even more of you have supported our efforts through prayer. Please know how much this has meant not only to the Qasemis, but to me. Your faithfulness and generosity have been astounding. Thank you.

To bring you up to date – Sayed continues to work as a dishwasher at Craft on 18th St. He truly enjoys the international crew that he works with and refers to them as his friends. Najila continues to get English tutoring several times a week. She has been brave beyond measure, making a truly staggering adjustment in the last six months. I think about the shy, scared young woman I first met, who had never been on an escalator, never carried her own money, never walked around independently. Now she rides the PATH train home from the city by herself, does the family shopping on her own, uses an ATM card. Abbas, who wasn’t walking when they arrived in November, is now an active and happy toddler.

It has not been easy, and the Qasemi’s continue to struggle financially. Sayed’s minimum wage job leaves them in that awkward strata of making barely enough to cover rent, but because he is fully employed, they qualify for few benefits. It’s a stressful and confusing situation for them, as they thought landing a steady job was the key to moving forward. We are working on finding them a less expensive apartment when their lease is up, and we are applying for subsidized childcare in the hopes of Najila finding a job as well. It’s been a real lesson for me in how our social services work, and sometimes don’t.

Though we are officially transitioning to friendship, please continue to support the Qasemi’s, particularly socially and emotionally. They want to practice their English and make connections in the community. And your prayers and encouragement are always welcome. Should you wish to write them a note of support, please feel free to bring it on Sunday.”