Reflections from Haley Everding, Summer 2017 Intern
Picture this: Two siblings, a 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old girl from Iraq, are new residents of Syracuse, New York. With English levels much higher than that of their parents, buying a new home in the city fell onto their plate of responsibilities. We worked on filling out paperwork, going through online classes, and taking tests in order to get these two children approved for a home loan. As a primary English speaker, even I was beyond confused as to what some questions were asking. Working with these two kids on buying a home for their family was one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
As a 19-year-old suburbanite, coming to Hopeprint has been a change of pace in my life. Working here continues to be the utmost meaningful thing I’ve done. Working with adult refugees offers a unique experience. This snapshot of the real hardships adult refugees face on a daily basis puts everything into perspective. I quickly realized that these Iraqi children were not children at all, but adults as they took on this responsibility of navigating their new life. And it doesn’t stop at buying a new home. Because the list of paperwork and documents and forms to fill out is endless. Because without the support of those willing to help, the path to success is not so clear.
After we finished all of the home-ownership paperwork, I asked the boy if his father was here to pick him up. He replied that his father could not come get him and he was going to walk. With a big backpack on and a laptop in hand, he was about to set out on a 4 mile walk back home. When we offered to drive him home, I couldn’t help but think of just how much harder everything is for these families. What some may consider the simple tasks of daily life are still struggles for New Americans in the community.