During the winter of 2015-16, Central Congregational Church committed to supporting a Providence-based refugee family. After reading of the long-standing tragedies we have come to know as the Syrian war, CCC held the belief such efforts directed toward a Syrian family would make sense. CCC expected to support just such a family when a last minute change in resettlement plans at Dorcas Institute resulted in CCC’s accepting the opportunity to support a family of 5 originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo via Uganda, where the family spent the past five years. The family of two parents and three children ages 10, 9 and 8 arrived at Greene Airport on a chilly February night where a gathering of Central members and Dorcas staff met them and ushered them to their new apartment. Heat and food were in plentiful supply. In the intervening months, so much has occurred for this family here in the United States that capturing in these few paragraphs the magnitude of what is unfolding is a challenge. But here it is...in a nutshell:
- Dorcas Institute is a non-profit designed to deliver a full range of refugee resettlement services including location, language, employment, health, administrative to name a few. We are indebted to Dorcas for helping us at CCC understand how we can play a supportive role.
- The Mupenzi parents, Alphonse and Charlotte, are enrolled in language immersion classes and are participating in rigorous schedules designed to assist them in the process of becoming self-supporting citizens over 90+ days
- Their three children have been enrolled in Martin Luther King School and by all accounts are beginning to flourish in their new country
- Alphonse has won an employment opportunity and currently is employed in south Providence by Falvey Linen; he also has passed his motor vehicle exam and is the proud holder of an American driver’s license.
- Charlotte is of course full-time mom to their children, and concentrates on English language skills each day. She aspires to participate in the workaday world in the weeks and months, just ahead, and as this is written, is off to her first job interview in America, tomorrow.