From Iraq to Anaheim, One Refugee's Story

Rafia, a mother of two, immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, with her kids in 2016. She came to Orange County, California to start her new life. Her husband joined them sometime later. For more than a month, Rafia and her family were living with a friend of hers at an already crammed apartment as a temporary solution.

As their first month went by, Rafia felt a sense of urgency to find a dwelling that could house them all in order to get back to normal life. But having a place of her own, which her children could call their home, was feeling only like a dream. They had no money nor a job that could cover their expenses to rent a place. Nor did they know how to meet the landlord’s requirements to be able to rent an apartment.

She had no idea at all as to who to reach out to for assistance. She describes the frustration she had in her own words. “After my husband joined us, a few weeks went by and I began to feel anxious as I couldn’t continue staying at my friend’s apartment anymore. I became even more anxious when I thought that we didn’t have the money to rent one for ourselves. My husband had started looking for a job but was turned down everywhere he went. It was stressful and demoralizing, something I don’t even want to think about again.”

A resettlement organization in L.A. referred Rafia to Uplift Charity, an organization she now describes as a hallmark of passionate and professional people that was right there to assist just as she needed. She right away made a phone call to Uplift and scheduled an in-home visit by Ahmed and Sonik, operations director and case manager of Uplift. Both visited Rafia and her family and listened carefully to Rafia as she explained the woeful journey her family had been through since leaving her country of origin. After the necessary paperwork, Sonik prepared a comprehensive selfsufficiency plan for the family aiming to meet their short-term and long-term needs.

As a first step, Uplift’s case manager found a place to live where Rafia and her family could instantly move. Uplift paid a portion of the first month’s rent and took care of all the required paperwork with the landlord to ensure smooth movein for the family. Just a physical structure is not what makes a place feel home. Uplift continued with assisting the family by providing them with donated furniture from community members and other essentials required by any family to operate normally. Uplift provided items like the living room couch, dining table, a television set and kitchen supplies.

Moreover, Uplift assisted Rafia’s husband in obtaining a license that ultimately helped him secure a job as a Security Officer at a local company. The income that is generated from his job now pays for all of their living expenses. According to Rafia, “it was the timely support offered by Uplift Charity which helped me out of my difficult situation. We wanted to be able to afford everything on our own and that’s what has happened. I feel happiness and optimism for the future.”

Uplift Charity’s primary purpose is to stand by those in need, and support them along the way with dignity and respect as they make efforts to transform their own lives. Financial stability and confidence in overcoming challenges that lie ahead in life are what Uplift Charity’s clients build as they build their new lives in America.

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