One month after 21 Arrivals

Last month, HIAS Pennsylvania welcomed a record number of refugees to Philadelphia.
Here's what one of them is up to:

When Kalema sits down to talk after HIAS Pennsylvania’s bi-weekly survival ESL classes, he explains why he comes, even though his English is quite good: “I come in to class because I want to do something. It’s boring at home. There is too much time to think about the past at home.”

Kalema is chomping at the bit to start work as he waits for his social security card to show up. He brims with aspirations: he wants to be a driver, as he did in Uganda. But actually, he wants to go back to school. “I love to cook. I want to become a chef,” he clarifies. Then he adds, “but I’m also an artist. I make bracelets and bangles.”

Now, the world is teeming with possibilities, but two years ago the future was dark, as Kamela fled Uganda for Kenya in fear of persecution.  Although there are many obstacles yet ahead before Kalema can fulfill his dreams—including navigating the DMV—now they feel possible.

Kalema is so thankful for the help he has received. “The people at HIAS helped me with everything. From the time I arrived off the plane, they showed me where to sleep, where to eat. They help to go to appointments and get everything I need.”  Although the past is full of shadows, his future in the US looks bright.

Thanks to all the people who donated money, beds, and other goods, the 21 refugees who arrived on September 20th are looking towards a brighter future.