SHELTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The Valley Refugee Resettlement Project is helping a refugee family from Syria resettle in Connecticut.
The family of six arrived on Monday and is staying at a temporary residence in Shelton. Through a translator, News 8 spoke to the father, Ahmad Albarghouth.
In 2013, Albarghouth, along with his wife and one-year-old daughter, fled Syria and resettled in Jordan, hoping the war would end and they could move back. A decade passed and the civil war in Syria continued. He said the county was not safe for his family and food was scarce. Every time a bomb was dropped, they were scared.
As the years passed, Albarghouth had three more children. He said there would not be much of a future for his children in Jordan, so he applied for refugee status in the U.S. The family arrived in New Haven and were greeted by members of their community sponsor, The Valley Refugee Resettlement Project.
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The Valley Refugee Resettlement Project was started by the Huntington Congregational Church in Shelton and became an approved resettlement group under the guidance of the Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Service of New Haven (IRIS). Now they’re a group of 30 local volunteers, mostly retired, ready to help families in need.
This is the first family the Valley Refugee Resettlement Project has sponsored and they’re hoping to help many more.
“We think our country is a great country and we need to show the rest of the world that we can help people.” said Richard Knoll, co-chair of the group. “For us, it’s sort of cathartic to help them make that transition.”
The group arranged translators, health assessments and social security cards for the family. Since last fall, they have been collecting donations and furniture for their new apartment.
“We’re still a little nervous because there’s a lot to do in the next few weeks to get all of this moved in and get them set up,” said Gordon Harris, co-chair of the Valley Refugee Settlement Project. “But we’re really pleased and happy and feel blessed it all happened like this.”
The hope is in six months, the family will be self-sufficient. The family is set to move into an apartment in Derby in the coming weeks.
Volunteers are looking for a refrigerator for the apartment. If you’d like to donate a fridge, email ValleyRRP@gmail.com. Click here for more information on donations.